In the summer of 2015, I was five years old and gearing up for first grade. I had been looking forward to orientation for weeks, and I couldn’t wait to meet my new teacher and see my classroom. As luck would have it, I came down with a fever a few days before my orientation, and a sore throat crept in on its heels. The day of my scheduled orientation, I woke up with a fever of 102 degrees, severe pain in my throat, and a painful cough. Read More →
I’ve always hated group projects. Feel free to judge me on that character flaw. When I was in middle school working on one such group project, I freaked out when someone started to color the dog on our poster purple. Come on, people. Have you ever seen a purple dog? I also got a little annoyed when people put the colors of the rainbow in the wrong order. ROY G BIV. It’s not that hard. So it was a running joke that my poor future children would be traumatized when I criticized their art.
I guess I’ve kept that side of myself pretty well locked down…until last week. On Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving I was at my parents’ church with the kids. Nati made this:Nati: “Look! I made a chicken!”
Me: “Wow! I’m so proud of you! But I think maybe it’s a turkey.”
Nati: “Yeah. Miss Cheri is a good teacher. She shows us how to make craps.”
Nati: “I like making craps.”
Me: “You mean crafts.”
Nati: “I want to show everybody my chicken. They’ll be so proud of me!”
Me: “Yes they will…but it’s a turkey.”
I guess I’ll have to work on taming that beast to spare my budding artist.
When we got home that night, Yohannes was inexplicably watching Spy Kids 3-D. Towards the end of the movie, a computer animated flying pig showed up, presumably from one of the previous movies.
Nati looked wide eyed at the TV and said, “Whoa! A flying pig! I never knew that pigs could fly!”
Clearly this is why you are not supposed to let toddlers watch TV. Shame on us. For those of you who are similarly flawed and allow your children to watch Dora, here is a little treat that my brother-in-law Pierce showed me on Thanksgiving:
I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving with turkeys and crafts.
I voted today. If you think I made a bad decision (by voting or because of who I voted for) I hope we can still be friends.
More importantly, I ate this giant bowl of cereal for breakfast:
Nati said he wanted cereal. I thought, Cereal sounds good. I’ll get some for myself too. I poured two bowls of cereal…with milk.
Nati saw the milk and said, “Cereal without milk!”
I felt that the mistake was partly mine. It’s important to always ask your toddler for detailed instructions on how to prepare their food. So I poured his cereal into my bowl, rinsed and dried his bowl, and poured him cereal without milk.
Nati looked down at his fresh bowl of dry cereal and then over at mine. He handed it back and said, “I want milk in my cereal, just like you.”
Also, pictures of our Halloween pumpkin, which wasn’t stolen! Yay!
Yesterday we celebrated our first Halloween. Growing up we didn’t do it. The most obvious reason is probably that we lived in the middle of the bush in Kenya. But even when we were in the States, we didn’t, I think because of concerns about pagan holidays or something like that. I’ve since learned that Christmas and Easter also used to be pagan holidays, so I’m over it. Nevertheless, we always bought a giant bucket of candy for the “trick-or-treaters”. And there were never any trick-or-treaters because we lived at the end of a mile long lane, so we got to eat all the candy ourselves.
To be honest, I hadn’t really thought I would celebrate Halloween with my kids either until a few weeks ago when Nati said, “Halloween is when you dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating and people give you candy!” Well, I wish Yohannes wouldn’t have told him that, I thought.
A few days later while I was away, Nati said the same thing to Yohannes and the babysitter. Yohannes said, “I kind of wish Esther hadn’t told him that.” The babysitter said, “Me too.”
It turns out Caillou was the culprit. He always is. So yesterday we went to the store, bought a bunch of candy for the trick-or-treaters, and a tiger hat for Nati. I thought the tiger hat would be enough, but he kept asking where his costume was, so we improvised. The tiger toga isn’t my best work, but it was the best I could do in 15 minutes.My plan was to just sit on the porch and pass out candy, but our porch light was broken. Since no one would come to a house without a porch light, I thought I’d just take Nati trick-or-treating around to our neighbors. But only one neighbor was doing it, so we ended up walking a few blocks, and that’s how we inadvertently celebrated our first real Halloween. Nati would say, “Trick or treat!” and try to give people the candy in his bucket. Lily was just along for the ride.
It was kind of fun to see all the people in the community out and about and interacting with each other. Afterwards we came inside, ate candy and carved a pumpkin. Actually, the kids watched a movie while I carved a pumpkin. Not a bad day.
Nati is potty trained. We’ve been working on it for over a year, but never fully committed. That is, I never fully committed. I didn’t want the hassle of an accident in the middle of the grocery store or church. Nati’s been ready for a while, but every time we left the house or at bedtime, I diapered him up…and also any other time either of us didn’t want the hassle of the potty. I decided it was time to rip off the bandaid, and on his third birthday I insisted that he wear underwear all day. He had zero accidents. I was high on this success so we decided to try underwear to bed. He was dry in the morning. We are going on 72 hours diaper-free and accident-free. I am so happy I could cry. (Actually I did get a little misty-eyed as he voluntarily pooped in the potty yesterday. Motherhood makes you do weird stuff.)
The following conversation took place while he was sitting on the potty shortly after I took this picture.
Nati: “Is that a picture of me pooping?”
Nati: “Thank you! It’s beautiful!” (Sees my deodorant.) “Where’s my shaver?”
Me: “You don’t have one, but when you get big, you can shave your face like Dada.”
Nati: “Oh. Do you shave your face like me and Dada?”
Nati: “Look, big-boy-diapers! I don’t need a diaper right now. Do you need a diaper?”
Nati: (Looks at his wrist.) *gasp* “Do I have a watch? I don’t know what times it is!”
Me: “You don’t have a–”
Nati: “Shhhhh! I think I hear a car on the road.”
*pause while airplane drones in the background*
Nati: “Okay you can talk now.”
(This conversation has been shortened to fit the allotted space. Other funny things were said.)
Thankfully, turning three has in no way diminished his hurricane superpower. This took less than 60 seconds:
Meanwhile, little miss Lily has been growing by leaps and bounds. She says Mama and Dada*. (*This has yet to be verified by a third party.) She tries to say Nati, but it comes out more like “Aaaa-Eeee.” She is also cruising around holding on to furniture, and occasionally lets go for a second and stands on her own.
Accordingly, she is also sporting her first fat lip.
Onward, ho, to the land of just one in diapers!
What do the following objects have in common?
These are all essential props in the magic shows performed by Nati. Did I say props? I meant accessories. Nati informed me that he needed a hat, a magic wand, and a cape to do his magic show. I was busy thinking about what I could easily get my hands on that would make the cut when he announced that he was ready — costume and all.
The magic show commenced shortly thereafter.
This child is the most creative and entertaining person I have ever known. A few days ago, I had just (finally) gotten Lily off to sleep for her nap when Nati started pounding on the bedroom door and woke her up. As she lay there crying and (now) fully awake, he said in a loud whispered, “Mama?”
“What,” I asked, in my most irritated voice.
“Can I sing Lily a song?”
“Okay,” I said, feeling a bit guilty.
He started singing: “Rock-a-bye Lily, go to sleep. Rock-a-bye Lily, you have to go to sleep. Rock-a-bye Lily, can’t go to sleep. Rock-a-bye Lily, can’t go to sleep.”
Happy Birthday to the sweetest little 3-year-old I have ever laid eyes on.
Nati: “Mama, where did the pumpkin go?”
Me: “I don’t know.”
Nati: “But where did it go, Mama?”
Me: “I don’t know, Honey.”
Nati: “But where did it go?”
*I go and find the pumpkin.*
Me: “Here it is.”
Nati: “But where did it — oh. Um…Where did the pumpkin come from, Mama?”
1. We went to see an alpaca farm last weekend with Jason. CUTE!!!!! I want one! $3,000? Nevermind.
2. Carved an AWESOME jackal lantern! Adorable Kitten + Adorable Puppy = Best Mom Ever. Picture below.
3. Someone stole my jackal lantern before I took a picture. They left the lid.
4. Lily is sporting 2 more teeth for a grand total of 4.
5. We spent a day in Philly after Yohannes’s citizenship interview. We saw Independence Hall and some museum mummies, and gave a piece of our mind to the mean lady in the subway elevator who pushed Nati. (Okay, so Betty and I just tried to disappear into the wall while some other, more experienced family members told her off.)
6. Four of the family headed home today, so we are down from 11 in the house to just 7. The visit went by so fast.
7. Quickie trip to the ER this afternoon for Nati. The doctor prescribed Neosporin. Never before has a single prescription made an emergency visit seem quite so superfluous. (Yes, I did just use superfluous in a sentence. Thanks for noticing.)
This is where I have been since Sunday. Feel free to envy me.
Just kidding. I am home. Alone. With two children. Yohannes, on the other hand, really is on that ship along with his parents and two of his sisters, a friend, my uncle and aunt, and my uncle’s in-laws. So it does seem odd that I’m not there and I feel it’s important for morale (mine) if I at least pretend to be there. The short story is that the tickets were through Yohannes’s work, no children were allowed, and I thought the kids were too little to go a whole week without me, so I opted to stay home. My introvert self was in need of a little re-charging after so long with a full house, so it’s not all bad.
In the mean time, we have done the following exciting things instead of going on a cruise:
Go Through Withdrawal: I spent last week participating in a 40 hour, mentally stimulating Immigration Training with real, live adults. So the transition back to temporarily-single-parent/stay-at-home-mom was a little jarring.
Sleep in: While it’s not as restful when you’re co-sleeping with two fussy kids, there’s still something to be said for staying in bed till 9:00am.
Watch Planet of the Apes (me) and Caillou (Nati): Worth it for that aha! moment a few minutes in when I realized that this is a political allegory and not just weird science fiction that dorks (Jason) watch. Planet of the Apes, that is. There’s so little to be said in defense of Caillou.
Get First Teeth (Lily): An aha! moment of a different sort when I nursed her and she bit me. Also, I felt a little silly after having just told the doctor that morning in a solemn tone that, “I’m a little worried because she’s been having unexplained fever’s all week, and I know she’s not teething.” The two bottom front ones are just barely through.
That’s all the excitement I can think of for now.
Nati: “Mama, are you happy or grumpy?”
Me: “I’m happy.”
Nati: “Are you happy?”
Nati: “Are you happy?”
Nati: “Are you happy?
Me: “Nati, yes I am happy!”
Nati: “Are you grumpy now?”
Over Labor Day weekend we went to the Kipona Art Fest in Harrisburg. Actually, we only found the kids section. We drove past the actual “Art” section on our way home, but never actually saw any art. Nati didn’t mind. Especially because Auntie Poupie was visiting from Atlanta and he is in love. How can you help but love someone who holds your hand…
…and takes you to get a balloon…
…and helps you play the duck game…
…where you win an obnoxious horn that mommy disassembles to remove the squeaker.
Daddy got points for going down the giant slide with Nati…twice.
Lily also got her share of Auntie Poupie Love.
Also, how cute is she in the outfit from Akoi and Tata?
Nati Quote of the Day: “Mommy, I want the ‘Ta da da da PBS Kids dot ord’ so I can watch Caillou!”
On Wednesday, Yohannes’s parents (Meseret and Worku to the world, Tata and Akoi to Nati and Lily) arrived from Ethiopia. We’ve been over to visit them twice since Nati was born, but this is the first time they have visited us since shortly after our wedding and their first time to see Lily.
It was love at first sight on both ends.
Lily has warmed up to them faster that I have ever seen. She is usually a little timid about being held by new people. Nati, on the other hand, has seen them on Skype and in pictures, and was very excited for them to visit.
It’s going to be a wonderful visit.