Friday, May 30, 2014

The Terrific Two's

On the drive back up from Kansas, Derek noted how each trip south gets easier for us; we no longer have to pack mass amounts of diapers and wipes or the Pack 'n' Play or baby food or various other baby-related paraphernalia, and the children are aces at distracting themselves for 14 hours in the van, in part thanks to around 8 hours of that time being spent watching movies (ach, I cringed just writing that), but also because they've had plenty of practice distracting themselves after countless circuits on that stretch of highway.

Both my sisters are right in the middle of that phase, and let me just say that is so much easier to be the one that holds the baby and reads books to the two-year-old and then says, "Okay, great, see you in the morning!" than it is to be the parent that changes the diapers and nurses the baby and tries to keep their fussy child quiet in the middle of the night when sharing a house bursting with family.  I mean, I loved visiting family when our kids were teeny, but it was so incredibly stressful, after returning home from each and every trip I would vow never to leave my house again.  Then a few months would go by and I'd miss my loved ones and magically only remember the sweet, fuzzy memories from the most recent long-distance excursion, and off we'd go again.

So while my sisters are probably still working on filling in their sleep deficit and just getting back into the swing of blessed, blessed routine, I'm up north happily trilling, "When can we do it all again?!"  Because while two-year-olds get a bad rap, they are so much fun when you're not the one having to be the mean mommy.

This girl.  Oh, Vada.  I have a feeling your parents are going to say that a lot in the years to come.  Half the reason I check Facebook regularly is to see the photos Steph posts of Vada:  Vada got into Mommy's new lipstick.  Vada got into the giant tub of margarine.  Vada is curious and she's a climber, a dangerous combination for her mom and dad, hilarious for the rest of us.

Oh, Vada.
She's also, like, pathologically friendly, and I mean that in the absolute best way possible.  If you need a hug, Vada is your girl, and she won't just do a cursory little side-hug; she will plaster her roly little body to yours and rest her sweet head on your shoulder.  She also won't say no to a little back rub while she's there.  She only has to catch the most fleeting of glimpses of a camera and she's smiling and saying, "Cheeeese!"

And then there's Charlotte.  Just that sentence makes me laugh, because I have a feeling people used to say that about her mom when we were kids:  "And then there's Kelli."  Kelli once received a report card from school when she was in younger elementary school, and in the comments section the teacher noted, "Kelli is a unique child," which is teacher-speak for, "Dude, your kid's kinda weird."  Charlotte is evidently intent on following in her mother's footsteps, which delights me to no end.  Derek got a big kick out of calling out to Char as she'd walk by him, "Hey, Charlotte!"  "Want to come sit with me, Charlotte?"  "Charlotte?  Can you give your Uncle Derek a hug?" which would cause Char to give the kind of suspicious, unsure look usually reserved for oily men in white-paneled vans, which in turn led to endless laughter for all observing.  Charlotte's affection is to be earned, but I will say it gives you a ridiculous sense of pride when she graces you with a smile or actual physical contact.  She had a bit of an anxious night the first night we were there, and so her parents went out and got her an action figure of the Hulk, because they'd forgotten hers at home, which was rather foolish on their part as she loves the Hulk and believes that he protects her, because of course she does.

The Hulk can now add "Comforter to little girls" to his resume.

Adelaide managed to ingratiate herself to both Charlotte and Vada by playing countless games of Ring Around the Rosy.

You should really click to embiggen this one and see the look of pure Ring Around The Rosy-induced joy on Char's face.

Ring Around the Rosy and the Hulk:  The Keys to Charlotte's Heart.  (That sounds like the title to a really bad book.)

Of course, I know I'll blink and those two-year-old's will be teenagers and the babies won't let me hold them and snuffle at their delicious necks anymore.  There's mutterings in the ranks about turning the niece-faucet off, but I'm not worried.  I'm confident my sisters wouldn't do that to me.  Because, you know, it's all about me.

Surely they wouldn't deprive us of more of this.  Elliot's face.  My goodness.

Or this.

Seven grandkids in eight years.  Oy.


  1. You managed to capture the smiley Charlotte she is at home 95%of the time but is almost impossible to capture in pictures. Hats off to you!

  2. That is some true Ring-around-the-rosy joy!

    And that photo of all the cousins - priceless. I only have two first cousins, and they lived in another country so I rarely got to see them. I am jealous of my own kids when they get together with their cousins.

  3. I kinda want to go to Kansas with you :) Love me some 2yr olds! (that I can return)

  4. I love this post! Such fun word-portraits of your nieces and I can sense the tight family bond.

    And just imagine if our families would have a huge get-together as my parents have increased from two grandchildren to 11 in the last eight years! :)


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