1. Load the girls in their strollers and walk to dinner. Ignore the “oh shit” faces of the waitstaff when you ask for a table for four. Swear that you can see the woman’s brain say, “Are you sure you don’t want it To Go?”
2. Stop for ice cream on the way home. Okay, so it’s gelato, because the line for Fenton’s Creamery looks like it’s Free Scoop Day. Only it’s not. Revel in the joy that is your child covered in chocolate.
3. Set up the tent in the living room, unroll the sleeping bags, load all the flashlights with batteries and turn out the lights. Now camp.
4. Curl up and watch the girls play a game of chase around the tent. Laugh at their exuberance and scoot over to let them take turns getting into your sleeping bag and pretend to be asleep.
5. Turn the lights back on while Jocelyn cheerfully announces, “We did it camping.” Put the kids to bed.
I decided that one way to bring a little excitement to the holiday weekend would be to try out camping at home. I have bred urban babies so it’s important to ease them into life amongst the things that creep and crawl. We have taken plenty of opportunities to hike and be one with nature, in daylight hours. But camping is not in Khary’s vocabulary, so perhaps this is more about easing him in.
To say the girls enjoyed it is an understatement. But two things were clear:
1. Jocelyn prefers the ability to turn a light on and off.
2. Camping at home does not equal sleeping in a tent. After two hours of running and screaming and laughing, it was clear that we were going to have to put them to sleep in their room.
Some days I miss when the girls were babies—when they could fit in the crook of my arm and I had to rock and shush them endlessly before they closed their eyes and sucked in a long breath of sleep. But then I am reminded that Jocelyn is now three.
We had a mother-daughter date yesterday. It wasn’t meant to be a date, since we were going to visit her pediatrician, but she was lit up with excitement from the moment I picked her up from daycare. She talked endlessly in the car about going to see Dr. Lee and about how she would tell Aja all about it. I left the stroller in the car and she walked with me inside, asking me questions about where we were and who was the woman that just walked by, and who is the man across the street. What was that loud noise?
In the waiting room, she sat on my lap and tried to help me fill out paperwork. She nuzzled my neck and in an attempt to make me laugh. The nurse called us in to take her weight and height, and she giggled her way down the hall and shook her booty when I tried to remove her clothes for the examination. She asked repeatedly, “Where’s Dr. Lee?” And as soon as the appointment was over, she asked, “Who was that?”
The survey says that she’s tall and healthy. We celebrated by walking over to Starbucks where I bought her a cup of fruit and an iced latte (for me). We sat at a table and talked. She told me how Dr. Lee looked in her eyes and mouth, and she demonstrated breathing in deep, in and out. She chomped on strawberries and asked when we were going to go back and get Aja.
We topped it all off by heading to the store. At first she was disappointed that we weren’t going to the warmers mahket, but her excitement rose when I put in her the cart. She listed off items she spotted in the aisles, reminding me that she doesn’t like carrots and she agreed that I should buy couscous.
Aja goes for her two-year appointment today. I don’t imagine that it will be a joyous date, especially with the shots that accompany the meal. Oh, and she has turned two. I keep starting a letter to her but I am still in disbelief. For days the page has read, “You are two years old.” To be continued…
There was an article on Babble today about finding inspiration for (decorating) a little girl's room. The first photo is quite cute and would be nice for Jocelyn and Aja, especially considering they have a love of giraffes. The rest of the slideshow made me want to vomit, with the seventeen shades of pink and assorted canopies and pompoms.
It reminded me of an article I read recently in the New York Times about the photographer James Mollison. He published a book called, "Where Children Sleep." This is an amazing collection of photographs depicting children from around the globe and their bedrooms. It is described as a book about class and poverty, but also one of togetherness. I found the pictures both beautiful and unsettling. I could get political and talk about how unfair it is that one child has a room full of barbies while another sleeps on a mat on the floor under a leaking roof. But I'm really more interested in the ongoing story. A child's room says a lot about their life, but there is also a lot that is missing. My girls' room says a lot about them: their love for animals and their minimalist style. Or, the fact that we have made a purposeful decision to keep decorating to a minimum until we move to another apartment.
To the girls, it doesn't matter whether we add wallpaper or paint the baseboards. Were I to ask Jocelyn what she wants she would no doubt say one thing: pink.
In parenthood you pick your battles, and one thing I have not cared much to fight over is the pacifier. I suppose you can say potty training too, but this is finally happening. It has not been perfected, but it is happening. I just wasn't going to be one of those people that insisted Jocelyn be potty trained at 18 months because at that time I had a five month old in the other room that was screaming like Linda Blair. And baby Linda helped me to ignore the pacifier in Jocelyn's mouth. Somewhere along the line she named it her papi, and her papi made her calm and happy. It helped her go to sleep and it kept her quiet. And quiet is beautiful before coffee, no matter what time of day.
But it has been time to say goodbye and I've been toying with ways to make the move. I read somewhere that it might work to "break" it by poking a hole in it to decrease the amount of suction. It took more than a poke (yes, I tried it myself). Jocelyn put it in her mouth and scrunched up her face like she sucked on a lemon. "It's broken."
"I'm sorry baby, that's the only one we have." (Yes, I lied)
She put it back in her mouth and kept sucking.
Next on the list was the Papi Fairy. You know, that fairy that comes when you're sleeping and steals your prized possessions. I started to tell her that the Papi Fairy was going to come and collect her papi's and give them to the babies that needed them. "Oh," she said, "the Papi Princess?" Sure. Princess it is. The look on her face said that this needed to be an even exchange, so I told her that the Papi Princess would leave her a present. This peaked her interest and she began talking about it in days leading up to the switch-a-roo. There was even a hint of excitement in her voice.
I took a trip to Target and bought a tutu I had been eyeing for her. I thought it was only fitting that I include a wand, and I threw in a few stickers, since they could be shared with Aja. I decided to include a Thank You card, and a pretty package.
She awoke from her nap and walked into the living room in a daze. I pointed out the package and asked if she knew who it was from.
"No, the Papi Princess."
Before she could rip into the bag, I opened the card and began to read it to her. "I want to thank you..."
Her face said clearly: Thanks for what? What the hell is this? What are you trying to do to me?
And then she began to cry and yell that she wanted her papi.
We skipped the rest of the card and the words of love and encouragement and went straight for the goods.
Aja was not as excited about the Papi Princess
It remains to be seen if this is really going to work. She insisted on wearing her tutu over her pajamas and she brought her wand to bed. She repeatedly asked for hugs and continued singing and chatting a full hour after we put her to bed. The real test will be if she wakes up in the middle of the night.
I'm not personally loving her love of princesses but I'm chalking it up to being three. A little tiara and pink can't do too much harm, but I'm thinking of creating my own princess. She wears purple and black converse and glasses. I'm going to name her Princess Tuesday. Otherwise known as, Princess "I Can Kick Your Ass This Side of" Tuesday.