Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lola grows up

Lola's abilities increase daily. She has dextrous hands, and she reaches out for toys to finger them and/or shove them in her mouth. She can roll from belly to back and back to belly, can sit for a little bit when supported by pillows, and can play independently for stretches of 30 minutes or so. She's moving past the black and white fascination into other realms, although she has devoted much time to staring at the cows. We might have another cow-girl on our hands!

Petite Peanut

Lola is our little peanut. Everytime new people see her we hear "she's so petite!" but we've brushed those comments off. However, the pediatrician yesterday said, emphatically, this baby is small. She did not gain even one pound in the past two months, which is cause for alarm. Our new mission is to try to shove even more milk/formula down her throat, in the hope of fattening her up. Our three attempts so far have failed, as Lola constantly shoves the extra bottle away. But we'll keep trying.

She has to be 15 pounds before she can start any solid foods. She's still at 10.5 pounds, so it looks like she'll be on an exclusive breastmilk diet for quite a while longer.

Gymbus Celebration

Raina celebrated her Gymbus year with a final show, complete with tickets and trophies. The show was simulatenously cute and lame, and it took a lot of convincing to get Raina there in the first place. But she was thrilled by the trophy.

Whompton girls

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Piano time

Our darling Raina has expressed a significant musical interest, which we have finally done something about. Raina began phase one of her musical career yesterday, as she attended her first piano lesson. It was adorable -- totally kid-oriented and fun. She also received practice instructions: 5 minutes, 4 times a week, was the age-appropriate determination by her piano teacher. How much time did Raina spend? Eighty-five minutes straight yesterday, not including her 30 minutes lesson. I knew that music would give her something to do with her incredible focus! Fortunately/Unfortunately, parents are the auditory recipients of piano practice, and 85 minutes of the same song was almost my mental undoing. But it was heartwarming to see her so enthusiastic. I hope she continues to enjoy the piano as much as she does now.

Raina and Lola

I often get the question: "So, how does Raina like being a big sister?" The truth? She likes the concept of being a big sister, but she hasn't really liked the baby much until now. It's not an active dislike or anything; instead, Lola cannot do much, so she hasn't been too appealing to Raina. But Lola is growing up and now she actively interacts with people, and suddenly Raina is more willing to play with her. And Raina gets energized and flattered each time she looks at Lola and realizes that Lola has been looking at her the entire time. As we say, "Lola only has eyes for Raina." And when they're in the car together, Raina frequently reports that Lola is smiling at her. It's a lot easier to show affection toward someone who clearly loves you unconditionally. I'm glad that Raina likes having a sister in reality (not just in the abstract) and that the sibling transition has gone so well.

Lola talks. Sort of.

Lola is progressing past the basic cry and scream to include more sounds in her repertoire. She now has mastered the short A (thereby making her first word aa, a type of lava), and has added some consonants to the mix: r, m, g, l. When she gets really upset, she repeatedly and pathetically cries out something that sounds like ma-ma-ma-ma-ma. It makes me upset too. But she also happily jabbers to herself and frequently squeals and giggles and laughs. We're happy she can express herself more, and we're eagerly awaiting real words.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Single Parenthood

Let me start this post by emphatically stating: any person who chooses to be a single parent is insane and, as a corollary, I do not understand how millions of single parents function in this world. I sent Samantha and Eric to DC this week -- my Father's Day gift to Eric was time not as a father -- and therefore spent the week with my two girls. I spend 24 hours a day with Lola and we have our routine down rather well. My concern was Raina, who is apt to be bored, demanding, and annoying (to me) in her repeated attempts to get what she wants after specifically told no.

What I've learned as a parent, especially during my summers with Raina, is that unstructured time becomes frustrating time. As a result, I structured every moment that Raina and I spent together. We played t-ball, took baths, colored a lot, went to the zoo, tried a new restaurant, put together a pirate costume, completed her "child of the week" assignments, had gymnastics, went to the grocery store and Target and the bakery, hit the Y, and picked up Eric and Samantha from the airport. I structured every moment up to picking up the other adults, and I had great success. However, I cannot imagine having to do this everyday of my life, and I immensely grateful that Eric is back home.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Raina's Favorites

Raina has been selected "Child of the Week," which has a variety of perks. This time, she gets to bring in her favorite toy, snack, book, and CD. Everything she chose was a surprise (I either don't know my child well or she's incredibly fickle).

I expected the favorite toy to be Momma Cow, because, well, it is. But maybe Momma Cow is so special she exceeds "toy" status. Who knows? Instead she chose another cow, who has the power of forward motion and sounds. He literally and loudly moos in response to certain stimuli -- a cute but obnoxious feature.

I anticipated her favorite snack to be cheese, but she selected Wheat Thins. Fine. And I admit, I didn't know what she'd choose for a favorite book, but she just picked one we had read that morning. Easy enough.

The favorite CD was the sweetest. I expected it to be They Might Be Giants, especially since we had just finished listening to them. But, again, she surprised me and chose "Daddy's band." Like I said, very sweet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Growth Spurts

Growth spurts have hit the Whompton girls hard. Both kids have been showing the typical growth spurt signs: demands for more food and sleep, and bigger extremities (head, hands, feet). Raina's hands and feet have been noticeably growing -- they seem larger each day -- so we knew a sudden zoom in height would occur. And it did. Raina got up this morning, I looked at her and said "Sweetie, you're taller! Let's go measure!" Sure enough, she was.

Raina also complained about wearing shoes this morning. She said, "Each time I wear my shoes, my feet go to sleep." Well, yes, that makes sense based on how quickly her feet have been growing. So it's time to retire a pair of shoes that she's been wearing for ONE MONTH! Clearly Raina is following Stephanie's pattern of growth: zoom up as quickly as can be, and then stop around 5th grade. She even has Stephanie's body structure.

Lola's body structure is different: she's all limb (with little torso), nice long fingers and feet, smaller head. She's definitely my baby.