I realized today when Charlie hugged me (while I was drying my hair) that his head no longer rests on my belly. His crown, instead, lays comfortably on my chest. When I looked down to give him a squeeze, his hair actually tickled my nose and I could smell the Burt’s Bees shampoo he applied all by himself in the shower last night. Realizing at once that this was the kind of spontaneous hug I might be missing dearly in a very short time, I risked having ‘chicken head’ for the rest of the day. I stopped fluffing with and cursing at my hair, knelt down, and waited until he was the first to let go.
We have all accepted into our household vernacular the very commonly called out phrase, “PoppyCharwo! PoppyCharwo!” It is all one word and it is always spoken with much enthusiasm and volume. I find it hilarious that Mary Hazel refers to her beloved sibs as one unit. When it’s time to pick them up from school, she observes that it is “PoppyCharwo Time”. When we rouse them out of bed on weekdays, she bursts on to the scene singing, “PoppyCharwo seeping?”. When the day is done, she makes the rounds giving bedtime kisses to all. “Mwah PoppyCharwo! Mwah!” It occurred to me the other day that Russell and I used to do the same thing when the twins were babies. Not to diminish their individuality, they definitely project a specific tour de force when they are together.
The kids got their progress reports at school this week. I was not surprised in the least that the only area in which dear Poppy needed improvement was in Raising Her Hand. While she is generally a very well-intentioned child who aims to please her mentors, the girl has been talking since she came out of the womb. I saw a note in her baby book the other day that reminded me she first recited the alphabet at 18 months old. I remember it clearly as she hopped up and down on the giant green arm chair, grinning like the Cheshire cat. As much as I love her, I do look forward to quiet time in the evenings when she is chattering away in her dreams. During bath time last night, we practiced raising our hands before we spoke. At first I thought she was joking when she immediately opened her mouth and started talking before her hand was even all the way up in the air. I asked her to try again and wait until I called her name to start speaking. She absolutely could no do it. “I have a question…”, “I was wondering if…”, “Could you tell me…”. We didn’t seem to be making much progress, but we had a good time laughing about it. Mrs. Ryals, you deserve to be teacher of the year.
Today I took Poppy to see Darrell Scott at The Bohemian. She is always game for an adventure with me. The boys were content to stay home in their PJs and graciously agreed to watch the baby for a while. It was a special outing. She loved having my undivided attention and sitting in my lap on the floor. Most of all, though, she loved the music. She really loved the music. She was tapping her foot and swaying to the beat the whole time. In between songs, she would lean back and whisper, “I really liked the words to that one,” and “Sometimes his voice can be really deep and sometimes it goes way up in the air.” She was paying attention and noticing the details because she always has enjoyed a troubadour. I have our bass-playing babysitter, Lou, to thank for a lot of that early interest. The icing on the cake was when I agreed to purchase Darrell’s newest CD and let her get his autograph. She is usually pretty shy about these kinds of things, but she seemed to regard Darrell as a kindred spirit from the start. When we got to the front of the line, she looked him the eye and thanked him when he complemented her on her camouflage army hat. She also smiled from ear to ear. I asked him if he would be so kind to have his picture made with Poppy. He answered, “Of course. Would it be OK if I picked her up and got a hug, too?” She giggled and obliged. She is in LOVE. She hasn’t let her prized possession out of her sight since we got home. Good memories made today.
Mary Hazel continues to change and grow and totally crack me up. She is starting to make the most ridiculously endearing sentences in her toddler-ese language. Tonight she brought “DanDaddy” a cup of water (in a plastic IKEA baby cup) and forced him to accept it. She loudly insisted, “Drink water…in your mouth…please!” No doubt about it, she got the Charlie gene. The one where they can teeter in a chair positioned in front of the kitchen sink for hours upon end filling cups, emptying cups, drinking from cups, spilling cups, and getting soaking wet from head to toe. Since it’s a given that I will be changing her clothes for one reason or another several times a day, I don’t mind a bit. In fact, don’t some fancy schools call this behavior sensory learning? Or Montessori work? Or Reggio-style exploration? Yeah, we got that.