Thursday, October 24, 2019

My Favorite Age

Baby G, Almost 6 Months.

Genevieve can roll over both ways, entertain herself with her feet and hands, grasp toys, put all the things in her mouth, and--most delightfully--belly laugh at her sisters' antics. She just rolled herself from her playmat all the way over to my desk and is lying with her legs under my desk chair, just grinning up at me and occasionally sucking on her thumb or fingers.

She's not sitting up on her own yet. She's mastering the yoga "superman" move, but she's not crawling. She makes her needs pretty well known, but she's generally a happy baby, especially in the morning, which is her best time. She'll lie around and coo and giggle, needing little more than a diaper change and some mama milk to keep her content.

She's still very portable, although the carseat is getting heavier by the day, and she's a good sport about carriers, strollers, and other means of transportation. She's just glad to be in the mix. She travels without complaint to school drop off and gymnastics and keeps her cool pretty much until the end of the day when--especially if naps have been spotty--she will lose her mind during the evening hour.

My stresses... we're still not on much of a regular schedule. She's not a huge fan of napping more than 20-40 minutes some days and then other days she'll sleep a solid 90 minutes in the afternoon. I read that she should sleep 3 - 3 1/2 hours during the day and 12 hours at night. She's getting those 12 hours in at night (she basically sleeps 7-7) but those twelve hours also include two wake ups during which she DEMANDS mama milk. I keep thinking that surely we can break her of that habit by just rocking her back to sleep, but no. Last night she was literally screaming. Not crying, mind you. SCREAMING. And I have this interior battle about staying strong and comforting her other ways and then my brain is like "OMG she's a baby and she won't be a baby for long. Just give her what she wants." So I nurse her and she falls asleep with a smile on her face and I'm like, "Why did I fight that for so long?" But then I think I should be working harder to get her on a regular schedule so life is easier for both of us...

I worry about her going to daycare, of course, and I want her to be able to be soothed without my boobs. But I also know that she'll be another two months older and everything will be different by then. So I'm trying not to stress about it too much, while also recognizing the irony that this is the baby who literally slept 8-10 hours a night at 1-2 months old and then hit 4 months old and was like hahaha just kidding let me have your boobs as an all-night buffet.

Coco, Age 5.

I really think that five is one of my all-time favorite ages. They're so little but so big and so smart but still learning so much and asking such big questions. Coco is a joy at five because she loves to report what she's learned at school, which is fascinating, and she's always singing songs she learned at school and solemnly reminding us of rules for behavior (which she also conveniently forgets quite frequently, as she seems to enjoy putting her feet up on the dinner table, which grosses me out).

She's such a big helper, but she's still little enough that she cried this morning when Vieve got a really good yank on a handful of her hair (to be fair, Vieve seems to have supernatural strength when it comes to hair-pulling). She knows her own mind and can rarely be convinced otherwise. I thought Zuzu was stubborn, but compared to her sister, Zuzu was actually more pliable, particularly when it comes to what she wants to wear. I've essentially given up on anything except enforcing what is weather appropriate and Coco has a strong preference for soft knits and dresses--the longer the better. She also likes tights, but they must be pulled "up to my vulva" because a saggy crotch in tights is obviously a total deal-breaker.

She loves babies and still asks frequently if she can hold Vieve and, last weekend, Johnny Boone. She likes to change diapers and help babies get dressed, and Vieve loves to laugh at Coco. She's blowing my mind with her reading skills, which just goes to show that every kid is completely different and you can parent them pretty much exactly the same, but they will do what they want when they want. Zuzu was not at all interested in reading at the beginning of kindergarten, and Coco always wants to practice her skills. She's also going to be the kid who enforces that you read every word on the page--Zuzu never minded if I summarized some of the longer, more tedious passages. Coco lives for tedious children's books.

She came upstairs bellowing, "Mama!!!" the other night when I was trying to get Vieve down for the night. I wasn't yelling a response since I was rocking a sleeping baby, so she burst into the bedroom, "MAMA!" and I whispered to her that I was trying to get the baby to sleep.

Coco: I need to tell you something!
Me: What do you need to tell me?
Coco: I know how to spell "toot." Tuh-oh-oh-tuh.
Me: Thank you for telling me that.
(Coco exits)

She also has the sweetest, most serious conversations. In the bathroom at a restaurant last weekend, she asked me how I could still be her mom when she's a teenager.

Me: I'll always be your mom, just like Grammy is still my mom.
Coco: Even when I'm a a grown-up?
Me: Yes. I'll still be your mom when you're a grown-up.
Coco: Will you die before me?
Me: I hope so!
Coco: I want to die when you do.

Oh, my heart.

Zuzu, Age 7.

David and I were just saying last night that we can hardly believe she's already in second grade. By age 7, Zuzu has officially learned pretty much everything and knows more than her parents, although admittedly slightly less than her second grade teacher who is the authority on all things. We had a funny conversation about being a good friend the other day and Zuzu said, "The only rule is, you just give people a chance! Just give them a chance!" and she did this really specific inflection with her voice and gesture with her arms that I actually recognized from meeting with her teacher (who's really animated in conversation) the day before. She is apparently taking some lessons to heart.

She's so confident and proud of her ninja warrior skills and we had such a great time at Elephant Rocks state park last weekend. Zuzu was in her element, climbing and jumping, with Coco working so hard to keep up with her.

She still can't handle any books or shows that are "too intense" which means really the least bit scary or suspenseful. Annedroids on Amazon Prime is a favorite, but she'll also still return to Shimmer and Shine--I think she finds the predictable storylines really comforting. It was the same with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for a long time. She likes knowing exactly what's going to happen and being surprised only by her brand of humor.

She loves her sisters fiercely, and she and Coco remain best of playmates, punctuated by frequent spats. She is also very good at making Baby G laugh and Baby G is absolutely smitten with her.

She still wants to snuggle if she wakes up in the middle of the night and she told me that last night she had a bad dream about aliens and video games, which is puzzling because she's never played a video game except for nintendo wii sports. She's just getting so big so fast I can hardly keep up with it. I love that she's big enough that when Coco is having a meltdown or just being silly, Zuzu and I can exchange glances and little smiles like we're in on a joke together. I can remember my aunt Peggy doing this with me and it made me feel so cool and grown up. She's excited about being a "flower child hippie" for Halloween after seeing a picture of a costume on Pinterest.

She still prefers that I read to her over reading to herself, which blows my mind, but I'm trying not to stress over it. She will occasionally pick up a book unprompted and read to herself, which is a fairly recent development that I'm celebrating, and she's very kind about reading to both of her sisters.

She'll still tell me that she's not sure who she is going to marry, but probably her best friend Gemma or maybe Will, but Oliver S. and Tyler B. both have crushes on her.

Me: How do you know?
Zuzu: They told me.
Me: Well, it's fine to just be friends.

Her problems are still little and she asked to take a stuffie to school to play with at Adventure Club and she still isn't much of a people pleaser and she'd much rather ask forgiveness than permission. She's clever and funny and kind and confident and she has gotten SO much better about being rational and listening to me when I explain something. Seven looks good on her.


  1. Two wakeups at that age is totally normal, I'd just give some mama milk and not feel guilty. My daughter is 20 months and wakes 1-3 times a night for a cuddle/breastfeed and I just go with it. They grow so fast and what's a little extra comfort when they are so small :)

  2. G will be 8 in two weeks (OMG. How did THAT happen?!) and it's only in the last two months or so that she has FINALLY started reading, on her own, by choice. As someone who had the "reading" switch turn on at 4, I have found her trajectory at times baffling and have done my best to not let it become frustrating. Because everything I've ever read in the Academic Mamas FB group has said "some kids struggle until second grade and then it all consolidates round age 7-8", and you know what? They were right. :)

    Your girls are so lovely, and it's such a pleasure to read about them.

  3. Coco's description of how she likes her tights cracks me up! I love that you're teaching them correct terms! Keep up the great work.