Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Long Weekend

As I sit here, the girls are giggling in their bedroom, fighting sleep, and the playroom is a tangled mess of toys.  The smell of freshly baked sugar cookies hangs in the air, and I am the good kind of exhausted.  It has been such a nice weekend.

Where to start?  Well, I've been feeling rotten lately, and was stressed out about it.  I can't recall if I mentioned, but three of us caught a parasite a few weeks ago (Hurray!).  (Miss M is going through what I call her "White Phase," and eating only things like toast and Kix and apples and macaroni and cheese; the good news was she was hence spared the infection--but I digress).  For a week, I couldn't eat without running for the bathroom.  As yet another a side note, I am officially at my minimum weight, the one at which my smallest clothes fit and I start to worry.  At first I thought it was food poisoning, but it got worse over time, rather than better.  So anyway, off I went to the doctor, I got diagnosed, we all took medication and we got better.  But, I think it in turn caused some other problems for me.  Which is a long way of saying that I had an ultrasound on Saturday to check on all things abdominal.  I had been pretty worried about it, but it came out just fine, and so by noon time on Saturday, I was feeling considerably lighter.  My GI specialist had also prescribed a medication that seems to be helping with the odd pain I've been having in my right side.

So, spring back in my step, we then headed off Saturday afternoon for our first road trip out of town.  After a bit of time, the girls fell asleep, and smug that the girls were peacefully napping and we were navigating the city just fine (it goes on forever and takes a million years to drive out of), T. and I fell into easy conversation.  Miles and miles slipped by, and suddenly I realized that we were on entirely the wrong road and utterly not where we were supposed to be, and the traffic was horrendous.  Ah, well.  It took us another 45 minutes to get sorted, and the girls woke up in the meantime and were entirely unhappy about the fact we weren't "there" yet.  It took us about two and a half hours to get to the starting point of the hike we had planned, rather than the hour we'd expected.

But it was fun to see other parts of the city, and the scenery was stunning once we left town.  As we approached the cloud forest where we were going hiking, the mists started coming in, and by the time we arrived at the parking lot near the trail head, we couldn't see 10 feet in front of the car.  But, once we started the hike, in the cloud forest, it was clearer, and the clouds receded and came in any number of times during our hike.  Every time they parted, the views of the mountains were just stunning.  It was pretty amazing.  Which was a good thing, because it was a much tougher hike than expected--3+ miles of steep, slippery downhill hiking.

Miss M did a most amazing job on the hike.  She did the entire thing herself, without complaining.  It was a blast.  She told me at one point that I was her best friend, and I just melted.  We had so much fun talking and hiking.  T had SB with him, and Miss M was my hiking partner (although we stayed close together), and we talked the whole way.  There were fun things for her to see, too, like a burro in the bushes, and 4 llamas on the trail as we came around a corner, and countless horses, just roaming free.

She is obsessed with "caballos."  It was a stream of "can I feed it. . .can I pet it. . .can I bring it home with me" once she spotted the first one.  It was pretty adorable.

We spent the night in an amazing mountain lodge that I will remember and treasure forever.  There are just some places in the world that resonate with me, rustic places of stunning beauty where nature is close and comforts are few but no one cares.  There have been maybe three or four other places in my life that I feel this way about. . .a place called Mountain Hostel that existed in the Swiss Alps in the mid-90's (it's now a private home, I believe). . .the jungle lodge we stayed in a few years ago in Honduras. . .a cabin in the woods in northern New England. . .a house we rented on an island off the coast of Maine.  And now, this place.

We were exhausted when we got there, hungry and with sore legs.  The place had stunning views across the valley of the opposing mountains, with clouds hanging there below us.  A crowd of horses hung out outside, and were driven to a lower pasture by cowboys on horseback, who kindly let Miss M pet one of the black pony's noses before they took off.  We carefully climbed the long stone staircase to the dining room, which turned out to have jaw-dropping views of the sunset and a giant open fireplace in the center of the room.  We sat next to a roaring fire, sipping ice cold local beer and drinking in the sunset, as the girls snacked on crackers and giggled away.  It was lovely.  We drank fresh passionfruit juice at dinner and ate a local chocolate torte and then fell into our bunks, exhausted.

Little SB had fallen asleep at dinner, and when she woke the next morning, I was already awake and staring at her beautiful little face.  She had the funniest look on her face upon opening her eyes and seeing the rustic bamboo and hand-hewn beam ceiling, as if to say "WHERE AM I??!"  It was priceless.  And then she was off.

We came home Sunday morning (just over an hour this way, despite a road closure along the way. . .the cop who came by told us that there had been a death and the road would be closed for "five little hours". . .have to love the Spanish language!).  And then we spent the rest of the day getting ready for a party we threw Sunday night.  Amazingly, we know so many people here that we couldn't even invite everyone that we know.  We had about 20 people here for a cocktail party.  SB went to bed at 6:30, and Miss M insisted on putting a dress on over her tshirt and leggings, in order to greet the guests.  She was again a rockstar, and mostly stayed in my room and watched cartoons until I finally made her go to bed.  It was a really nice night.

And then today, we played and watched movies and cooked sugar cookies, and it was relaxing and delightful.  Miss M poured entirely too much colored sugar on the tops of the cookies and they are all kinds of funny colors.  While the cookies baked, I remembered that two years ago I bought Miss M a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and I suddenly realized that she might really like to read it.  So we sat at the kitchen table and started reading, and she loved it.  We read 45 pages tonight before I finally made her go to bed.  Roald Dahl is one of my favorite childhood authors, and it was really awesome to see how into his story she was, at only three years old.  I just loved it.

So, yeah.  Good test results.  Cloud forest hike.  First successful party in our new country.  Relaxing day.  Joyful book sharing.  Amazing weekend.

The Things People Say

My almost-4 year old informed my husband this morning, as she was getting dressed, that "everyone says I'm going to be beautiful."  She said it matter-of-factly, as she explained why she needed to wear a "pretty dress."

What kind of thing is that for a little kid to internalize?  It's true. . .people do say it all the time.  She has delicate features and coloring that people consider pretty.  I consider her pretty, too.  But I want her to value her intelligence, her internal strength, her ability to be kind, and a million other INTERNAL things.  The fact that she's cognizant enough of the external stuff at this age is. . .kind of scary to me.  It's frightening, the messages that society sends to little girls.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Word List

I read that a child who is SB's age (almost 20 months) should have between 10 and 50 words.  So naturally, that made me wonder how many words SB actually has, because it seems like we've had a language explosion and she is talking a LOT:


I can't do it.
Where is _____
Mickey Mouse
Thank you
Apple juice
Why? (clearly, she has an older sister)
What happened (used in perfect context, like when the National Zoo panda cam disappeared while we were watching it)
Medicine (she's teething,and appears to appreciate pain relief!)
It's S!  (With her full name, in response to being asked on the phone who is talking)

Okay, it's taking too long to list all of her words.  I have been saying "what is this?" to get her to say things, and even I am surprised at how many things she knows.  I would guess she has at least double what I've come up with on this list.  And, it's funny how many of her words have to do with food.  She's definitely learning he important stuff first!