Wonder Twin Powers Activate

This is the first post from MZ's dad.

We had a Chanukah party the other night, where at least eight toddlers were in attendance (plus a toddler's baby brother who slept through most of it -- ahhh, remember those days) and maybe another toddler or two snuck in -- I couldn't keep track.

First of all, it was sheer pandemonium: toys flying in one room, stickers sticking in another, dreidels spinning, stair climbing on both sets of stairs, occasional cat pettings with the brave Moki who seems to enjoy more toddlers rather than fewer, light switches going "On" and "Off", balls rolling down hallways, cookies-cake-gelt being devoured for instant sugar highs, running-climbing-jumping-falling and announcements of all the above at the top of the lungs in barely discernible 2-year-old-speak; dads and moms catching up and chatting in snippets of conversation, having a plate of latkes or a glass of wine, putting down a plate of latkes or glass of wine on any flat surface to catch a falling toddler or to help foster "sharing," etc.

In a word: pandemonium. Hats off to parents with lots of kids. I don't know how they do it – they must have a zen place they go to...a lot. But, anyway, in the total chaos, something popped out very clearly to me: toddlers have Super Powers. Last I really noticed with this group of kids who have known each other for all of their lives, they pretty much did the
same thing. We parents have been getting together as a group at least once a month for the past two years, and, more or less, the get-togethers go the same way: arrive, drop the potluck offering on the communal table, settle the kid into the communal play area, grab some food, nosh, chat.

Through six months of age the kids were laying on the floor, maybe rolling over. Through twelve months some standing, a step or two, basic playing. Through fifteen months lots of toddling around, exploring, devoting a minute to a given toy and moving on to the next one with minimal "playing together."

But, all of a sudden, we're here at 24 months give or take, and they're all different.

We're all different of course -- everyone is beautiful in their own way blah blah blah -- but it's truly amazing how different they are. One kid is jumping off a stack of phone books and sticking the landing, another is explaining what she would like to eat now and what was wrong with what she just ate (or didn’t), a third is busy taking apart and putting back together toys that no parent can figure out. Some are playing together since they know each other from day care, others are playing together for the first time and enjoying it. Still others are doing art -- playing with crayons or stickers, or making the wind-up toy go, crushing the wind-up toy, swaddling the baby doll, swaddling the teddy bear, swaddling Moki.

They all have their own unique capabilities, but what it looks like, since it's all so new and so very evolved from the past two years as our blobs have progressed into human beings is that they all have new and special Super Powers.

It's the Hall of Justice right here in our living room. Just like Superman or Wonder Woman, each of our little ones possesses the power to change the world in their own very unique way, and it has just become totally clear to me how special that really is.

We're getting to observe a lot of things about human development as these little folks grow, but it's amazing to see the things that are most magical about ourselves emerge. It's as if the magician is letting us in on the mechanics of the trick the whole time he's doing it, but we still don't completely get it, and therefore the magic is preserved. How does Superman fly? I don't know. How can MZ speak so well? How can
Pugawug take that apart and put it back together again so effortlessly? I don't know. Must be their Super Powers.



Happy as a kid in confetti

Containers full of confetti. Open and unmoderated. There for her to toss, spread and mash as she sees fit. It's entirely possible that this is MZ's happiest moment to date. Happy birthday, Pugawug, thanks for sharing it with us! Posted by Picasa


A Moment of Silence

The Bay Area (and so many other places) have been watching, praying, hoping for the Kim Family as their ordeal unfolded. We don't know them, although we love their nearby store, so somehow feel a connection, in that and in the comman experience of parenthood, in the spirit of adventure that takes a family on a winter roadtrip through beautiful country. We've been gripped by their story, so horrifying did it seem that a family could just disappear.

When Kati and her two daughters were found, it seemed like a miracle, but the latest chapter has brought us back to earth. We asked ourselves and each other constantly, How? Why? Where? and every answer confirmed James Kim's intelligence, bravery and persistence. At some level it paid off, his family is safe again, but we mourn the loss of this wise and dedicated father. Our deepest sympathies to the Kim family and all who knew him.


What we're reading #5

It's been a while since I've updated the list, mainly because MZ has stayed faithful to so many in her collection. But there's a few new additions worth noting, in particular the entrance of the picture book into her array of favorite night-time reading. In the morning, we pile into bed and read from the selection of board books we keep on the night tables. But at bedtime, she's looking for story, and pictures, she picks details out to talk about and she has favorite pages she returns to. Reading has become more interactive, and even more enjoyable.

She's also become familiar with her first licensed character: Winnie the Pooh. We don't know how she established this preference, but she often asks for her various Pooh board books. This hasn't noticeably increased her affection for -- or even her awareness of -- her enormous stuffed Pooh, but she does seem taken again with her tiny Piglet, who was her first lovey.

Wynken, Blynken & Nod: Gorgeously illustrated, I'm so glad she loves this as much as I do. Could she possibly remember it from early days?

Wow City: The protaganist looks a bit like MZ and the dramatic, colorful illustrations grab us all. She loves pointing out all her favorites, from the streetcar (our local version of the subway) to the BIG SHIP in the bay.

Pond and Forest: These colorful, simply drawn pages have captured her imagination. She looks for the animals, she repeats the brief rhyming text. And frequently, she asks for the one that is sitting a staircase away.

Time for Bed: We've had this larger-format board book for a while, but now that she's interested in picture books, she seems to enjoy this one more. She also relates more to the sleep rituals, as evidenced by the talk of brushing teeth-teeth and putting on pajamas. But why do they exercise right before they go to bed, after their ablutions?

Secret Seahorse: This has become a bonafide favorite recently. She loves the crabs and BIG FISH, and has recently decided that in her sleepsack she is in fact a mermaid.

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? She makes all the sounds, but returns again and again to dibble dibble dop dop dibble dibble dop.


Accessorize Yourself

MZ has been picking out her own clothes for about four months now. Not every clothing change, we've managed to avoid pajama choice, but mornings are fraught with partialities. I put her on the changing table, and quickly pull out two shirts or pants, while she's facing away from the drawer. I present them to her for her to choose, and swiftly pull out two matching items of the other persuasion while she admires the first, and again, she chooses. If I'm slow and she turns over and sees the open drawer, add another 10 minutes to the getting dressed process. At least.

She has a strong preference for raspberry pink and orange, although not together, and lately, for overalls. She rarely asks for a dress, but seems taken with tights. Tonight, for instance, while R. was putting up our holiday lights, she ran around in tights and a white onesie of her choosing, looking like a little elf (although when she tangled said lights for the xth time, R. could be heard mumbling something else).

And recently, she's into accessories. In Puerto Vallarta, we strolled the Isla Cuale in search of the "perfect purse," which turned out to be small, orange and made of beads. She wore it proudly throughout our stay, it replaced her small pink market bag, which she'd previously used to store rocks and her Tevas when we walked down the beach.

When I wear a scarf, she wants a scarf. She's worn one to daycare, and made sure it comes home with her. She has strong opinions about hats and socks. She dictates pigtails, headband or barette, and if we have time, we accommodate her. She fusses minimally while I adjust her pigtails although she's taken to hollering -- not screaming or crying -- but wordless, distracting hollering the entire time I cut her fingernails. She cares a great deal about shoes.

I can't tell if this is toddler control cycles or a budding clotheshorse. Either way, I am completely taken by her strong opinions, by her total engagement. She's opinionated, but she's no diva. This I can appreciate.