Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

This morning Harper and I stood in the kitchen window and watched as my mom's big red Tahoe backed out of the driveway and started the trek back to Wisconsin. We waved and blew kisses and I cried a little bit. I am not embarrassed to admit that leaving my parents' house, or having them leave here, is just sad and I think it always will be.

It is nice to have company in the house all day long.

It is nice to have an extra set of hands for when the toddler turns into the tyrant.

It is nice to have someone want so badly to be of help to me that she will get on her hands and knees and scrub my kitchen floor.

It is nice to have someone spend the day with us and then tell me, in a completely non-patronizing way, that the job I do is hard and I actually do it well, at least some of the time.

And so, as I held Harper at the window, my eyes leaked just a little bit. Harper looked at me with concern and asked me why I was crying. I told her I was sad that Mugga left.

She gently patted my back and said, "It's otay Mommy, Mugga will be right back in a yittol bit."

Over and over she said, "It's otay Mommy." Then she snuggled with me on the couch for a few minutes, offering kisses and hugs.

This is something of a miracle in my eyes, as well as a relief, that this little person who so often bears the brunt of my exhaustion and exasperation, is already able to reach out to me with such kindness and compassion.

I think we must be doing some things right after all.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Party Time

(First, a note on spelling. Harper has been calling my mom Muga since sometime last spring or summer. This is pronounced "mug-ga" and it has been brought to my attention that people are interpreting Muga as "moo-ga." I have a difficult enough time spelling actual words, so to have people correcting my spelling of words Harper invents is a serious insult. However, it appears that, after input on many fronts, that spelling it Mugga, would be less confusing. So, from here on out, I will be using the term Mugga to refer to my mother's relationship with Harper. If I am really interested in procrastinating someday, I may go back and change the spelling in previous posts.)

So Mugga has been visiting since last Wednesday. She came to help out while my dad was traveling for business in Europe. Apparently washing my kitchen floor and playing with a wacky two-year-old are attractive alternatives to staying home alone for two full weeks. There's nothing like breaking up your solitude with some toddler style play time.

As we all know, and some are afraid to admit, it is a grandparent's duty to spoil their grandchild(ren) to the fullest extent possible. (Despite this fact, we have been warned that Harper, due to all the loot from the week, will probably not be receiving a Valentine's gift in the mail. How ridiculous does that sound? How many kids get Valentine's gifts from their parents, let alone grandparents?)

Our first outing to the toy store resulted in a Mylar Hello Kitty balloon and one Elefun game. The toy reviews of this game have been less than glowing, but Harper loves it. Basically there is a motor which looks like an elephant and a long plastic trunk which extends up from the base. You put "butterflies" in the base, turn it on, and then try to catch them with nets when they fly out the top of the trunk. This is remarkably hard to do. I don't think Harper has actually caught one yet, but she runs around, waving her net and screaming with glee, as the butterflies fly from the trunk. Those moments of sheer joy make this game worth it. The butterflies are out pretty quickly, then you have to turn it off, gather them up, and refill the base.

Harper has added a step to the game by insisting the adult playing with her must empty some of his/her butterflies into Harper's net. Then she'll run around and dump those out before helping clean up the insects.

The toy store loot would have been plenty, but Mugga also did a little damage at Target. There were dress up items in the dollar section, so Harper acquired a fairy skirt, magic wand, tiara, and wings. We haven't even taken these out of the packages yet and will save them for a long winter day. Not wanting to stop at dollar dress up duds, Mugga also procured a tent for Harper.

Actually, there were two tents. We brought one home and set it up while Harper was napping. It was so unbelievably lame that we had it back in the box within minutes. We went back to get a different tent. The second tent takes a small amount of actual assembly as opposed to the very feeble pop-up version we tried first. The second tent is awesome! Harper and Mugga played in it for quite some time this evening.

When you are two (and probably a little older as well) everything is simply more fun if it is done in a private, cozy space. This tent even has a tunnel you can use to crawl in and out of it. Yes it takes up quite a bit of space, but it is totally worth it. This will be one of those toys that we leave up for a little while, then put away, and when we break it out again it will feel like Christmas morning to Harper.

We have really enjoyed this visit from Mugga, and not because of all the stuff. We love to have her here, even when no gifts are involved. Tonight, while Mugga was putting Harper to bed, Harper said, "I luf you so much Mugga. Sanks for coming to see me."

Sunday, January 28, 2007


These are the moments I'm so glad Harper learned to talk. The other day I went into her room in the morning and this conversation followed:

"Mommy I nee to wipe my nose!"

"Do you need a tissue?"

"Yes! My nose is all wet inside."

And now, a photo.

(The perils of having a large head.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Easy to Please

Okay, so, lots of the time I actually don't feel as though Harper is easy to please. You know, like when she is throwing a fit because I didn't get a new bowl for her crackers, but put them on the plate that was already contaminated with cheese. Cheese, which doesn't even leave crumbs, but she knows it has already been on that plate and the plate is therefore unclean. Sigh.


On Wednesday I had a subbing job in the morning while Nana watched Harper. Then we all went out to lunch. The highlight of the afternoon was the balloon Harper received as we left the restaurant. You might not understand if Harper told you about it. "L" isn't her best sound so the word comes out, "Boon!"

I will say, when she's not tired or hungry, Harper can be fairly easy to entertain. One balloon = about thirty straight minutes of unadulterated joy. It doesn't take much.

Whatever makes you as happy as a two-year-old with a helium balloon, try to do some of that this weekend.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Milestone: 200th Post

While it may be frustrating at times, at least life with Harper is always interesting. Tonight she had a scrambled egg for dinner. Here's why. . .

Harper was playing in the living room, very content, so I headed to her room to put away some laundry. After a few minutes, I hear the sound of the refrigerator opening and closing. I am not pleased that Harper figured out how to do that, but we haven't felt the need to put a lock on it, yet. Anyway I figured she wanted something to drink and had gotten the milk or juice out, as she often does this to help me. When I walked into the living room, there she was with an entire carton of eggs! I approached her as I would a poisonous snake (if I were forced to approach a poisonous snake, that is), calmly, talking in a soft voice, without making any sudden movements. After safely procuring the eggs, I asked Harper what she was going to do with them. "Eat dem!" she said.

So I asked her if she wanted an egg for dinner. And she did. She even stood on her stool in the kitchen and watched me scramble it. She really isn't very hard to entertain sometimes.

And now, some photos.

Here is Harper presenting her handiwork to me:

Here is the handiwork, our magnetic letters arranged in some system that only makes sense to her. She started by putting all the green letters in a row of sorts and took if from there:

This is one of Harper's creative positions for hanging out in the family room:

Oh to be young and flexible again! She'll hunker down like that and then insist, "Yook at me Mommy! I faw down!" Good times.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

It Really Is Winter!

After a very warm start to the winter season, and for the first time since Harper could reliably walk, we have had a measurable snow! We woke up this morning and it was coming down steadily. By early afternoon about two or three inches had fallen.

Matt came home from his basketball games right around the time Harper was waking up from her nap. Since I still had school work to do, we thought it would be a great idea for Harper to go outside and "help" Matt shovel the driveway.

I should mention here that Harper received boots and snow pants from Muga and Grandpa for her birthday. She liked them so much when she tried them on that she wore them in the house for an entire day. Then I hid them. Needless to say she was over the moon when I pulled them out of the closet today.

After "shoveling" Harper threw some snow around, tried to make a snow angel, and then built a snowman (which looked like a snow pile) with Matt. We are hoping for a couple more inches later this week, after which I'll take Harper out to build a real snowman. We discussed this after she came inside, all rosy cheeked and sweaty from her layers. She thought the snowman sounded like a good idea, but only if I procure a carrot for the nose.

In a related note, I don't ever want to move to Alaska, or even Minnesota. As much fun as the snow is, do you have any idea what it takes to get a toddler into snow gear? I think I've found a new winter workout. A few good snowy weeks each winter should suit us just fine.

Phone Fun

Did you try to call us last Friday? If you were mysteriously hung up on, I can explain.

As per our usual arrangement, Harper was hanging out on the bed, shut safely in our room, zoning out to Elmo so I could take a shower. When I came back into the bedroom, from the adjoining bathroom, the phone was sitting in front of Harper on the bed.

It was off the hook.

"Yook, I haf dat phone!"

"Did it ring?"


"Who was on the phone?"

"Nobody was dare!"

Hmm. . . If it was important, they will call back.

Next time I'm taking the phone into the bathroom.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Pretty Good Day

Well Harper didn't take a nap today, but she did play quietly(ish) in her bed for quite a while so I suppose that counts for something.

We started our day by making waffles for Daddy. When Harper was refusing to go to sleep last night, as she often does these days, I was wracking my brain for something to tell her we were going to do today. There is some part of her mind that understands, "Cool thing x won't happen until tomorrow. Tomorrow won't happen until I sleep and wake up. Therefore, I must go to bed if I want cool thing x." Last night cool thing x = making waffles for Daddy in the morning.

Harper had great fun helping me pour the ingredients together and then stirring. Of course all good things must come to an end; Harper was very disappointed that she couldn't actually help me pour the batter into the hot waffle iron. Didn't seem like a good idea, you know, since she listens to me so well these days. . .

So breakfast was nice, but the real joy in the day came when I told Harper that Andrea had called and asked us to come over and play after breakfast. I actually told Harper this bit of information before getting her out of her crib this morning. She got very excited and then very quiet, and said, "Dana is my fren (friend)."

Little did we know, Dana now has dress up clothes. Harper, having little to no exposure to ballet, as far as I'm aware, was inexplicably thrilled to don a dancer costume. There were lots of things to delight the eyes, yards of tulle, velvety pink fabrics, things that shimmered, and sunglasses, which no diva/dancer/queen is complete without. The girls were quite content to dress up and then leap and run and climb around like maniacs.

The unfortunate part of dress up is the disappointment, and ensuing tantrum, that comes when you realize you can't actually wear that ballerina getup all day -- especially when it's thirty-seven degrees and raining -- and your mother strips you down and puts you back in your plain old clothes.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Harper is definitely in the stage where she likes to do the same things (watch the same things, read the same things) over and over (and over and over and over and over) again. Today I got quite a bit of reading done on the computer while I played this game:

Harper would "hide" behind the curtain and instruct me, "Mommy, say where Harper could be?"

"Where could Harper be?" I would sing out (while reading away on the computer).

Then she would throw the curtain off and shout, "Peekaboo! I surprise you!"

I gasp and say, "Oh my goodness! You did surprise me!"

Then Harper says, "I hide one more time."

And we repeat.

The only variation being, sometimes she would say, "Rebound, where Harper could be?"

And I say, "Rebound, where could Harper be?"

And then she surprises me.

After a while she decided it would be more fun to tickle me. Harper doesn't totally grasp the concept of tickling another person. She hardly touches us but she'll just wiggle her fingers and come at us with a high-pitched voice kind of squealing and looking like this:

Which really makes me wonder what we look like when we tickle her.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Riding the Toddler Roller Coaster

I walked in to playgroup yesterday and asked, "Is it normal to occasionally want to put your two-year-old through a wood-chipper?"

No one gasped in horror. Instead that comment was greeted with a knowing chorus of, "Yes!"

Then I felt a little better.

But seriously, do they make mood-stabilizers for the pre-logical beings among us?

I can laugh (sort of) about this now, because today was a fairly good day. I had class, taking me away from home for about five hours, and that helps to.

Just in case there's any uncertainty out there, I will state that of course I love my daughter. It's her two-year-old behavior that has me running full-speed into brick walls.

Example: The other day, in the same diaper change, she both screamed and writhed and begged for release and handed me a clean diaper and said, "I'm so happy!"

She switches from delightful to devil in 2 seconds flat, and with very little warning.

Harper in a good mood:

Harper less thrilled with life:

She was upset that I was about to take away the stick from one of her musical instruments, when she refused to stop beating inappropriate objects with it. What was I thinking?

We've been through frustrating stages before, but that all seems so mild in comparison to this Harper, who can now lash out physically and verbally. Okay, okay, lash out is probably a little strong. . . that's what the two will do to you.

P.S. Mom, doesn't this make you soooo excited to come spend almost a week with us?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Go Flyers!

Last night the Xavier Women's basketball team headed north to face their A-10 rival the University of Dayton Flyers. We decided this would be a good opportunity to introduce Harper to the UD Arena, even if it did mean staying up past her bed time.

Matt wasn't with us, we went with Nana and Dziatku, but that may have been a good thing. Harper's favorite part of the whole affair? The cheerleaders. I was telling Matt today how she copied what they were doing and saying and he said, "Why didn't you stop her?"

She copied their arm motions and tried to yell the cheers. When they came out onto the floor and did pyramids, she stood on my lap with her hands raised in the air.

Harper's grandmother was a cheerleader, and I believe Aunt Meaghan did a short stint in a cheer skirt as well. Auntie Shannon was a cheerleader for Halloween once, but cheer leading is not really in this family's blood. I've said it before, but (according to Matt) if Harper spends time on the basketball court she'll be wearing a jersey.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Some Thoughts on Football

One of the joys of being in Wisconsin over the New Year's Eve/Day was cheering for the Packers and the Badgers on home turf. And Matt, being a fan of neither team, was a very good sport. On New Year's Day 5/6 of us wore red and repeatedly yelled, "Go Badgers!" Actually, Harper yelled, "Go Packers!" most of the day, she was still brainwashed from the night before.

The way she enthusiastically jumped on the Badger bandwagon, she sure made my dad proud. She can now identify Bucky Badger, and was very excited to see her Bucky Badger socks when we sorted the laundry yesterday.

We cheered the Badgers to an ugly victory in the Capital One Bowl. A win is a win, no matter how sloppy.

Harper showed such enthusiasm for the game, and for a set of my dad's headphones, that she may just become the first female head football coach in Big 10 history.

Of course the Badgers weren't the only victorious team from Wisconsin over the holiday. We were thrilled when the Packers beat the NFC North Champion Bears, 26-7. Even though the win wasn't enough to get the Packers into the playoffs, it was like a Super Bowl to us. I was especially invested in the outcome of the game, since way back in August my dear husband bet me the Packers would not get eight wins this season. Not only did I win the bet with Matt, but the eighth win was also a fulfillment of my dad's promise to Harper, which you can revisit in the comments to this post.

The Packer enthusiasm even extends to Rebound, who put up surprisingly little fuss when I dressed him in this Packer item my dad picked up.

Whether or not we watched Brett Favre's last game remains to be seen, but after watching his emotional interview on the field I wouldn't be the house on his return. Too bad none of us thought to tape it!

For Badger and Packer fans football season is over. We'll hang up our jerseys and start counting down the days until it all begins again.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Wait! It's Still Us!

Hello and Happy 2007! Blogger has undergone some changes, requiring me to update this format, so I am trying a slightly different layout. Feel free to weigh in on the change. I liked the way photos looked on the dark background, but perhaps this one is easier to read?

We had a wonderful Christmas, celebrated in Ohio and in Wisconsin. It will probably be about June before we figure out how to fit all the new items into our home. It's a toy minefield in the living room right now. After all the events of the last two weeks I have no idea where to begin with an update. For now I'll just say that we had a fabulous time throughout the Midwest and I'm sad that the holidays (and my break from school) are over.

Posting may be sporadic in the next few days as we readjust to a school schedule.