Friday, April 30, 2010


We have a bird. Berit's named him Bladdy. He lives in a tiny little nest at the top of the column out the front door. He's starting to get used to us, but he doesn't stick around when we go in and out of the door. Hoping to hear the sound of baby birds! Hm. Better revise my pronouns...

Berit, always dramatic, has had this attitude reminiscent of me at age 13. She comes down the stairs in the morning with a look of boredom and slight disdain, accepts the parental hugs and spends the rest of the day telling people what to do, talking back, and getting in trouble for both. Of course she is wonderful, but I do feel like every time she walks into the room lately, things get tense for all. Terrible 4s? Early adolescence?

We finally made a decision about Berit's preschool for next year. We hate to leave PCN, but with the new baby coming and Marta already desperate to go to school herself, we just can't swing the volunteering twice a month per child. We're really excited about St. Francis preschool, which holds afternoon class (no more rushing in the mornings), is within walking distance from the new house and is at our church, so it's super familiar. Berit wants to start today. Because they have My Little Ponies.

What's she doing lately, at nearly 2 1/2? Climbing stairs (up and down), not napping, coming up with I Spy subjects all on her own (so the rest of us have to figure out what she spied), counting backward from 15, counting forward to 20 and sometimes 30, picking out her own clothes, going down the biggest slides, being: fearless, reckless, purposely funny. Every morning she asks, "Can I go to school today?" and when we pick Berit up she asks, "How was school today, Berit?"

Last night was our last swim lesson. It's been going really well -- Berit is losing a lot of fear in the water and is taking chances. She's jumping off the bottom step and is trying to move between grown-ups without help (not quite swimming, but sort of leaping and splashing). Marta swims on a noodle completely on her own and jumps off the top step, provided we don't let her go under too much when we catch her. She stands on the bottom step and puts her head under water up to her eyes for a quick second. She's desperate to just take off in the water. Last night I was standing with another mom, her daughter, Marta and the instructor in the middle of the pool. Marta was on a noodle, and the other little girl asked for the one that was floating next to me. I turned to get it, and when I turned back Marta was sinking to the bottom. I know this happens to kids all the time, and Marta was fine after a second of sputtering when I pulled her out. But this has shaken me to the core. I can't get the image of her, helpless, flailing under the water, out of my head. I also know that this is probably only the first time Marta will scare me crazy with her daredevil stunts, but still. I think I'm a good mom, and if I wasn't paying enough attention, what should I expect from other caregivers, like her sitter and our family? OK, this is definitely extreme, but I can't help freaking out a little about this. If you're someone who cares for Marta, I apologize now for the list of warnings I'm going to give before I leave. Also, for the phone calls making sure all is well.

By the way, Marta was back on the noodle -- standing on it, this time, trying to balance in the water -- within minutes. Oh these children; they have no idea what they do to our hearts.

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