Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Pianist

Yesterday, Tye and I drove to visit my grandparents in Rockford.  We arrived in time for lunch, then had a nice long walk around their neighborhood, spent some time talking/napping, then had dinner and some more play time.  Tye fell in love with their baby grand piano.  Watching her explore the keys and corresponding sounds- reaching all the way from one end to the other- was really sweet.  It was a bit like seeing a piano with completely new eyes.

Have you ever just sat back and watched grandparents or great-grandparents with a child?  The child brings out the youth in the older generation.  I see it so clearly with Tye's grandparents- they act the youngest I've ever seen them when they're with Tye.  Yesterday, I had the same feeling watching my grandparents play with Tye as they made musical instruments out of cookie cooling racks and played peek-a-boo over the counter.  Then Gramma told stories about some of her experiences mothering my dad and uncles, memories I'll treasure right along watching Tye play piano for the first time.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

To Tye, at 18 months

Dear Tye,

Happy half birthday!  Or, as you would say (imitating a talking birthday cake toy you have), "Happy, happy, happy.... Happy!"  You have so many things to say these days.  We understand more of it than ever- you have a vocabulary that grows daily and is now far too long to list- but you also spend a great deal of your time jabbering.  Recently, you've been cracking us up with your new facial expressions, like your "shocked" face, with eyebrows raised as high as possible and mouth wide open.  As you learn to imitate our expressions more precisely and use them appropriately, your ability to communicate is enhanced.  We've been adding more signs, too, which helps, and your attempts to sign banana are precious.

Several weeks ago, our trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo became a turning point for you.  We were lucky enough to be able to stand next to the window when the male lion was pacing inches away from us on the other side.  After several minutes, he stopped and roared.  Suddenly, my repetitive "What does a lion say? Roar!" monologue clicked, and you began roaring back at the lion.  For the next 30 minutes, you stood in front of the lion exhibit roaring at the lions.  I'm not sure if this convinced you that some animals say something other than "woof," or if you made that connection separately but on the same day, but suddenly we could ask you what a variety of animals say and you would tell us the right sound.  Perhaps the cutest is the restraint you use to very quietly meow, especially compared to your loud, breathy roar.

You also have a new bike!  You love pushing yourself along with your feet and you've picked up steering incredibly quickly.  I think you're also really excited to finally have your own "bi" after admiring Daddy's for so long.  
Watching you grow is such a joy, Tye.  Hearing you sing, seeing you ride a bike, watching you navigate the playground easily, I can't help but be amazed that my baby is doing such grown up things.  You fill each day with so much happiness, from your sleepy morning smiles to your sweet goodnight kisses.  Thank you for the best year and a half of my life, Baby Girl.  I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.   

Love, Mama

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Fever

I know, I've been away for a bit- but Tye and I have been taking full advantage of spring.  Last week, we had three glorious days of sun and temps in the 90s, which felt more like summer than spring.  We've been spending every free moment outside at the playground, on nature walks, planting our patio garden, walking Mico, and riding Tye's new bike.  Even on the rainy days, we've maintained our spring momentum and enjoyed the warm rain.

Ask any Chicagoan about summer in Chicago, and you'll hear a response along the same theme: Summer in Chicago is amazing because here, the cold winters create a true appreciation for good weather.  When the weather warms up, the city comes alive with people all anxious to soak up the sun after a winter of hibernation.  I feel the same way.  So while it's no excuse for staying away for so long, at least you know our Spring Fever won't last forever.  We're quickly stocking up on the only known cure: more sunshine.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On Feeling Old

I've been feeling really old recently.  It started with me trying to find an outfit to wear to dinner at a trendy restaurant with Tyler's co-workers.  I kept finding myself responding to clothing items with phrases my mother would say- "(Gasp!) Who in their right mind would wear that?"  

Then I spent a few minutes reprogramming the SiriusXM radio channels in the car after they changed all the station numbers.  I realized my top channels are, in order: indie rock, kid's, coffee house (the new generation of smooth jazz), classic alternative ("classic"=old), "first wave" alternative (the first alternative bands), and 90's (it has its own station?!?).  I listen to almost all OLDIES!  Seriously, who knew programming radio stations could cause a midlife crisis?

To top it off, we've been planning for a couple weeks now to spend today at the zoo with a friend of mine from college and her son.  She and I have known each other for over 10 years now.  10 years is now significantly closer to 1/3 my life than 1/2 my life.  You see where math gets me...

Feeling old isn't all bad.  I'm excessively happy with where my life has taken me and all I've accomplished in my years.  I feel a perfect combination of fulfilled and ambitious, content and yet ready to take on the world.  I guess what shocks me most about feeling old is wondering how so much time could have passed so quickly.

A perfect example of time passing quickly?  Exactly two years ago, I wrote my first ever blog post, complete with a photo of my bitty baby bump at 11 weeks.  Looking back, I'm hit first with the amazement of how much I've changed and learned since that day.  I feel as though I've grown more in the past two years than in the previous 27 combined. 

With all my recent feelings of being old, I keep reminding myself, This is the youngest I'll ever be again.  While I say it to try to encourage myself to enjoy today, it doesn't do much to make me feel younger.  But when I look at Tye's smile, or run my fingers through her ringlets, or watch her roar at the lions, love washes over me and I know that if this is what getting old means, then by all means, bring it on.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mama Fail

Last week, our nature group had a walk scheduled at a beautiful park in Chicago.  The walk is about a half mile, so I knew Tye would love tromping through the forest along the wood-chipped path with her friends.  With new spring growth finally showing itself, I was really looking forward to the experience.

The day of our nature walk arrived with dark clouds and loads of rain.  No problem, I thought, We'll just dress for the weather and make the best of it.  It was a great plan until we arrived and I realized I forgot to pack Tye's raincoat.  Feeling like the worst mom in the world but unable to scrounge up or even borrow a kid-sized layering piece for her, I did what any good desperate mom would do and made her a waterproof coat.  Out of a reusable grocery bag.

At least she loved it.


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