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Party of five…..

30 Nov

gogo-tashThe date was Friday 20th October, yes we’re back to dates. So far the pregnancy had been plagued with extreme fatigue and debilitating hunger…. And I am not being dramatic. If I didn’t eat every 2 to 3 hours my body would literally starting to shut down. If I wasn’t pregnant I’d be going in to get checked for diabetes. So as result I wasn’t very keen on making the immense effort to go in for an ultrasound.

 

The first one is usually a dating one, as I saw it if it’s even two weeks out it’s not going to drastically change anything when you’re in it for life. Julie at the Dr’s office insisted I get one done, make sure everything is ok blah blah blah. So on that Friday afternoon I found myself at Chinatown Radiology, patiently waiting 45 minutes after my scheduled appointment trying not to pee myself and anxious to get back to work. They called my name and I went in, gingerly lying on the table lest I pee. 2 minutes into the ultrasound:

Him: Is this your first ultrasound?

Me: Yes.

Him: You say you’re 11 weeks along?

Me: Yes.

Him: Do twins run in your family?

Me: Yeess……….why?

Him: You’re got twins in there!

Me: You’re joking right?

Him: No, look ….

Me: Oh wow

Him: You have someone with you here right?

Me: No, it’s just me.

Him: (trying to dispel the panic) Twins are a blessing, you will have so much fun, don’t worry about it

Me: Hmmmmmm…. Ok

He was a lovely Phillipino man who proceeded to give me all sorts of reassurances. All I could think of was I hear you but…….

My first sms was to Baba saying I needed to talk to him right away, he was at work. When I spoke to him all he could say was “Wow, ok… wow, for real, ok, wow………..” (you get the picture). Gogo I called in the middle of the night her time and I imagine not much more sleep was had that night.

How did this happen you might wonder, well besides the obvious I do have twins in my family, Karl doesn’t. I did however initially think we only had 2 sets of twins, then I remembered Blondie and Mudhara in NYC and then last week Gogo reminded me of Sekuru Tafadzwa’s 2 identical 4 year-old girls. Then she asked around and they are 3 other sets of twins in the family…. there really was no escape, it just perhaps should been the first pregnancy not the second when you’re pushing 40! Oh wow, I’m pushing 40…. In any case, I digress, it’s a blessing and a journey we are all looking forward to.

Back to dates, August 6 2010 was an extremely life changing day for me. That is the day that my Gogo passed away. Contrary to Missy’s thinking she is not the only one with a Gogo. She comforted me when I had my first scraped knee after an afternoon playing on Reeler Crescent. She saved me from crying whilst the maid was pulling so hard whilst plaiting my hair and was so gentle I nearly fell asleep as she was doing it. She constantly reminded me to pray without ceasing. She always advised a young lady should have her tummy in, chest out and drink lots of water. She was love, she was kindness, she was home.

When she passed we were living in Napier, New Zealand and I was working as a Network Engineer for a computer services provider which involved going to see customers all day and delivering friendly service with a smile on my face. For two weeks, all day every day Yolanda Adams’ “I’m gonna be ready” got me through it on repeat in the car. I could smile all day and go home and cry my heart out with that song getting me through. The same song has been on my mind since I found out the twins. This is no means a tragic event but it is life altering. Just as much as I couldn’t have imagined a world in which Gogo wasn’t in even if she was a million miles away, I never imagined I would be a mother of twins.

“Sight beyond what I see
You know what’s best for me
Prepare my mind, prepare my heart
For whatever comes, I’m gone’ be ready
Strength to pass any test
I feel like I’m so blessed
With you in control, I can’t go wrong
‘Cause I always know, I’m gonna be ready”

So there you have it folks, we’re having twins. All we know for now is that they are dichorionic diamniotic (DCDA) twin pregnancy is a type of twin pregnancy where each twin has its own chorionic and amniotic sacs. This type occurs most commonly with dizygotic (fraternal) twins, but may also occur with monozygotic (identical) twin pregnancies. We are all doing well and adjusting to our new reality. We have moments of being shocked we have to buy a 7 seater car, pondering how we carry two babies (this was Missy’s dilemma), I wonder how I will breastfeed two babies and I think Baba should be more concerned about the possibility of living in a house with 4 girls!

While the adults in the house are trying to plan what to do with our BOGO (Buy One Get One Free) deal: double stroller, two car seats, two cribs, navigate existing space, more clothes, more doctors visits, which hospital, daycare or nanny; Missy has declared we need a 3 bed bunk with slide to come down and stairs to go down and that its taking a really long time for them to come……… The other good news is that Gogo is coming to help us for 5 months and after September we will be very open to any visitors who have 2 hands, if they have more even better ;-).

twinsSo come next May we will be a family of 6 Baba, Mama, Missy, twins and Fishy

 

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Self care..

12 Nov

cbr For the record this post was started on Sept 15th at 3:24 am, 5 days before The Missy’s 4th birthday (she’s had a name upgrade) ….. For nearly two years now I have had a 21 day menstrual cycle and several cyclical hormonal oddities that so after nearly 10 days of apparent pre-period pains and breast tenderness that seemed to linger more than it was welcome on day 23 I thought it was a good idea to pee on a stick, much to Missy’s gleeful disgust (that is literally the best description of her reaction when I explained to her why she couldn’t play with the pink stick).

The day was August 24th 2017, it was Baba’s 40th birthday and needless to say this made this the BEST.BIRTHDAY.EVER. He was just happy he was still shooting sharp shooters and Missy immediately wanted to know when the baby was going to come out and play with her and sleep with her because every night she makes it very clear that its not fair that she’s the only one who doesn’t get to sleep alone (possible future psychological shrink needing trauma..)

So being the Project Manager that I am I immediately started a plan to make sure this pregnancy was not as unbearable as the last one because my first reaction was ‘Oh bother…. 10 months of this…How did I forget this discomfort from last time…’ I started to look for an acupuncture closer to home since we’ve now moved offices and I am now literally 3 blocks away. Google helped me find Acubalance Wellness Centre, a questionnaire and 15 minute phone interview later we had an appointment in a week’s time. Leading up to appointment I started to notice that my cramps seemed to be related to digestion. My tummy moving with gas or otherwise seemed to bring relief.. I mentioned this to Christina  and she said my history of anti-biotic use pointed to perhaps a long standing intestinal imbalance that could be addressed by taking probiotics. This is where I get to blame someone else: my mother. I had my tonsils out at 4 and for years I seemed plagued by throat infections which almost always meant antibiotics and also there was a period there of constant women’s issues that also resulted in a myriad of antibiotics. In any case I was somewhat skeptical of this diagnosis until I consulted Dr Peter Motsi of Medicine Hat, Alberta (I kid you not, that what he goes by in rural Alberta where pronouncing Teu let alone Teurayi is apparently a challenge) who concurred.

On hindsight this might be why poor Missy was so colicky if her life in vitro started off so gassy. Also determined to eat as variety of food as possible instead of mostly peanut butter and jam sandwiches so maybe this baby will eat more than just bread for the first 2 years of its life….Forewarned is forearmed.

So this pregnancy I am all about self care…. taking care of me, I am determined to enjoy this pregnancy and not be railroaded by it. I have shifted my daily Yoga with Adriene to a pre-natal series, even signed up for the annual paid subscription thanks for my work fitness subsidy. Rest, relaxation and constant rehydration is the new mantra.

Short of landing twins  think I’m prepared to raise 2 kids in the diaspora (but that’s it) famous last words. Two friends with two kids have asked my a few times if I really wanna ruin a good thing and countless people have told me when you have 2 kids you think you’ll be twice as busy but really you’re 10 times as busy……

Let’s do this !! Although I do feel like America in the 45th Presidency and the devil you know may turn out to be addicted to fentanyl and the jazz man is on the payroll………

So people, consider yourselves served….. this may be the first of many blog posts or the last in 2 years, either way this is may be the first time you’ve heard this news but I don’t have the bandwidth for individual messages.. Self care

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Choo choo is coming very soon….choo choo

26 Mar

IMG_2173This is currently one of the favourite songs, some I know, some she picks up from daycare, some clearly makes up herself. Singing through situations can sometimes be the only way to get things done without a big drama. Barney brings up various versions of “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere, clean up, everybody do your share”, we keep the tune and change the words depending on what we need to get done: Eat up, Hurry Up, Sit up.. A really good one thanks to CEFA is “It’s time to put the toys away, toys away, toys away, it’s time to put the toys away, everybody” (sung to the tune of London Bridge is falling down)….It’s time for Missy go to sleep… it works for just about anything! Shiri yakanaka unoendepi (pretty bird where are you going) is a good one when we’re outside, soo many seagulls, crows and pigeons in Vancouver.

image5Toddler life continues to be exhausting, heartwarming, frustrating, joyous and exasperating all at the same time. She certainly knows how to play us and she relentlessly insists on forging her own path in everything that she does. It’ll be an interesting journey to help her put that gift to good use and help her manage it in her life.

“Missy don’t do that! It’s not funny ” (sad pouty face immediately followed by an irresistible smile) “Mama, it’s a little bit funny.. ” (two little fingers demonstrating just how little the funny is with her head tilted to the side) who can say no to that. In the mornings I get a hug, a giggle, a song and ‘I slept well Mama’ followed by tears of ‘I don’t wanna go pee pee, I don’t wanna wash face, I don’t wanna brush teeth, I don’t wanna go school…..’ and some mornings it’s ‘Mama, Missy brush teeth’, ‘No Missy do it, Missy change clothes’, ‘Yayyy let’s go to school!’

FullSizeRenderWe have fully embraced Valentine’s Day (we made cards pic attached), Easter (we decorated eggs and took part in an elaborate hunt) and Mama’s Birthday with all the stickers, crafts and minimal sweet treats (she still doesn’t really like sweet things, she loves fruit, eats a lot of it a day but artificial sweet doesn’t entice her much, she has been known to ask for rock salt and chew on a gram or two … weird… she’s not my kid when it comes to that…jus sayin.. I won’t be held responsible for the ensuing hypertension..

I do have to lodge a formal complaint. My birthday was completely hijacked cake and nearly hacked it to death! It was her birthday, her cake, her candles, her presents, her flowers, her cake again because the next time we ate it we had to do the whole candle charade all over again…. On a side note she only had one bite of the chocolate cake then she said ‘I don’t like it…’ I on the other hand in about 15 years didn’t even get to drink a Guiness, my honorary Irish passport is currently being revoked as we speak…

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Looks like we found a babysitter. Nassima is from Bangladesh and has three grown boys, two in University. She is a lovely lady and Missy took to her as she would anyone who comes into her home and has time to let her show her everything and be at her beck and call. We hope to use Nassima for nights out, days mama needs to go for a mani-pedi, brunch or just some window shopping. She is the right age now and who knows she may even be able to get her to sleep at night and we can go out for a drink and dinner like we used to, when we were young…. ha ha ha!

Spring is barely hear and we’ve been to the beach twice already in half our winter gear….. I am not sure where this idea came from but she’s asking to go to the beach for months now. I keep saying it’s too cold we have to wait for the sun.. She really wants to make sand castles. Spring break came around, the weather was 1 degree away from 10 degrees and there was a few rays of sunshine so I gave in. She was so happy gathering her bucket and spade ready to make sand castles, though not so happy that she’d wear her rain boots, she does not like them at all! She had a great time and we didn’t completely freeze to death and if I recall we didn’t have any tantrums either, we did it twice in one week, it was a good week….

 “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection,

Not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”

-Martin Luther

Happy Easter Everyone

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If we go down to the woods today…

8 Mar
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Singing in the rain….

How do you summarize the onset of verbal diarrhea, seriously, that is what is literally is. From the times her eyes open to the time she goes to sleep it’s an explosion of words complete with the most adorable facial expressions and appropriate body language. A gentle reminder that this in fact a living, breathing and most definitely thinking human being who will not be ignored, even by the most disinterested of neighbors…

She has started to go to a group daycare called CEFA 3 days a week, as you can see in the picture they wear uniform so to help with the distinction we call this ‘school’ and to Natasa’s two days a week she just going to see Baka (this is Gogo in Serbian and also what Gagi calls her) and play with Gagi. She took a while to settle in. Nearly 3 months to be exact. She wasn’t unhappy but neither was she happy. She was polite, did everything she was asked to do, she ate what she could stomach (and proceed to act like a hungry street kid when we picked her up), she got by with minimal effort. We have come to the conclusion she was just observing the situation, figuring out where she fit and if these people knew what they were doing (they were going through a staffing change so a few substitute teachers came and went but the main teacher remained the same). They thought she was a model citizen and they were ‘waiting for her voice to come out’. Then her highness settled in and began to exercise said voice and say no! That was when I knew she was now comfortable and happy. LOL!

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Chilling like a boss

She loves to go to school though and play with all her friends who she quite happily enquires as to whether they too are being forced to sleep at night by their dictatorial mothers. “Where’s … Raazik?”, “At his house, sleeping”. Where’s…. Isabelle?”, “At her house sleeping. “Where’s … Kaysan?”, “At his house sleeping” and so it goes on until we have named Nadia, Semra, Jai, Cameron, Nyssa (Anyssa), Amber, Krish, Cory and Nika (Annika). I am sure you can see where this is going, we also tend to be very very hungry at bedtime and we might also need to go pee pee or enquire as to whether is cloudy, raining, sunny, snowing, dark or windy. We however learnt that when it’s time no talking, no crying, just sleep which she repeats a few times to check just in case the rules have changed.

The most important event surrounding school though is the train. We take the train to school and we have 2 stops which take 5 minutes and then another 5 to 7 minutes to walk to the daycare, as long as she’s in the stroller, if she decides to walk well… I am sure you can imagine. The Skytrain system has two types of trains. The older ones are white and the newer ones are a grey/blue/black color combination. To Missy they are black. She only wants to go on the black train and she has been known to scream bloody murder if she is made to go on a white train. The trouble is that sometimes you can wait for 8 or even 10 trains before a black one come along. Oh boy, it’s painful, more so on chilly windy mornings. She’s happy bundled in the stroller, me .. not so much. I am less patient since I need to be at work by 9am, Baba can take his time cause it’s usually his day off when he takes so, so as a result she’d rather go with him because he’s willing to wait for the black train.

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Snow eating Mt Seymour

We also truly began potty training a month ago and it’s been going very well, one or two accidents a week but that’s all so far. I know…. On hindsight now I can see some of your faces when at 8 months I said I would slowly start it. I abandoned that once she started to use the potty as her TV watching platform whilst she was fully clothed! She’s good at telling you when she needs to go and now she only has a pull-up diaper at night. Over the weekend we had just had breakfast and we were skyping Gogo when she started to run to the toilet saying I need to do poo, I started to run behind her and then she turned back around, ran to her books and was yelling “Book, book Mama, duck book”, “Really is this your priority right now, reading, I thought you wanted to poo?”. Then I can only imagine out of desperation she grabs a book and runs back to the toilet, I help her on and she says “close door mama…please..” and she proceeds to do her business and read the book out loud! Hmmmmm, I think I missed the memo, when did this start…. LOL! Now it’s standard procedure.

 

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Going Shopping

Missy likes to help us cook and clean up. For Christmas, Baka gave her a set of pots, pans and utensils that she has ‘picnics’ with and she cooks her pasta and chickpeas. She cautions us that ‘it is hot and no touch mama’. Then we have to sit down and let her mix then we can try some. She is also dying to go to the beach and I keep telling her she has to wait until it’s sunny and warmer…. She keeps agreeing but I am not sure we’re on the same page because two days later I get the same question. Her birthday is also always tomorrow and she’s guaranteed to have a party and lots of presents.

I took her to a Goodnoise Gospel Choir concert on Sunday, 5 minutes in she complained it was too loud and she proceeded to start singing Happy Birthday Baba just went the solo was going into a beautiful rendition of ‘Oh Happy Day’, you know at the beginning when the music is melodic and soft…Missy starts her own song,clapping as she jumps on the pew… Popular music is not her thing by any stretch of the imagination. If you play the radio in the car or at home, play my own music I get ‘Turn it off mama!’, she can tolerate her father’s reggae, namely ‘One Step Forward’ by Max Romeo, I think mostly because of the actions that go with it. The clear winner is Classical Music, that is the only music that doesn’t get dismissed or deemed as too loud. It started off with The Very Hungry Caterpillar on Netflix. The program is accompanied by what I think is very average imagery and animation and classical music, Missy loves the book and the music seems to literally make her heart sing.

On a final note the main way I get her to do what she would rather not do now is say “Missy I am going to count to 5 then you have to do…” Now she’s taken to pre-empting it and just saying “Count to 5 Mama”….. clever little girl…

Be kind to one another people, stay blessed.

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Lunar Festival Year of the Monkey

When enough is enough

29 Feb
Art is Smart

Art is Smart

This post on a couple of events that happened August 15th and August 24th 2015!

I wrote them down in September and then I meant to post them and well now’s it’s February… Go figure….. But I am on a roll now I think. More to come, in the meantime pretend it’s August 2015….

First and foremost Malaika now officially has a nickname which she has wholly embraced. It really began a few days after she was born. Gogo would send messages asking after Missy. She has been referred to as such on and off and I didn’t realize was that this is what they were mostly calling her at daycare. In the last few weeks she refers to herself as Missy, so much so that if you call her Malaika you seldom get a response. So if you need a response: call her Missy.

So anyway Missy and Gagi have become best friends. Gagi is Natasa’s grandson, his given name is Mateo. They have been spending many days together and now request each other’s presence sometimes as soon as their eyes open in the morning. Natasa and Malaika were making a cake for Gagi’s birthday party the following day. They had co-operatively made the cake together and when it came to tidying up Natasa told Missy that she couldn’t help with that part. She was to step aside, sit down and have a snack whilst she tidies up. Missy did not take too kindly to this dismissal. She wasn’t happy but she didn’t kick and fuss nor throw a tantrum instead she headed to the entrance way, picked up her backpack, went to door and started knocking. She wanted to be let out; she wanted to let Natasa know that she had options and didn’t have to put up with such treatment! Enough was enough! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. It took some time and lots of apologies but she came around eventually and put down her backpack. I am sure is she could have articulated it she was would have said “Don’t do that again, he’s my friend after all!”

Happy Birthday Baba

Happy Birthday Baba

The next incident was on her father’s birthday. We were going to have dinner with Uncle Matt and Aunt Andrea. We got home and I decided to make her a pizza to nibble on since we were still waiting for Baba to get home and we would then drive to their house. I was trying to act as quickly as I could before the native revolted, overtaken by hunger. Missy asked for juice, she had been into the storage room and there was none, she looked in the fridge and also came up empty. Missy, it’s all gone, we will have to ask Baba to buy some more when he gets home. She nodded in agreement and walked away, well that was a fairly good outcome I thought to myself as I carried on in the kitchen. Next thing I hear is ‘Door! Door! Door!’ ‘Malaika urikuda kuenda kupi (where do you want to go)?”. No response except more requests for ‘Door!’ I was trying to get things going so I ignored the requests that were now turning into screams and tears. I just managed to put the pizza in the oven and then went to the door, after more prodding I opened the door to see where it would lead. She went out and straight to the elevator then asked “Where Baba?”, “Ummm, Baba varikubasa, vanodzoka manje manje” (He’s at work he’ll be back just now), “Oh”. She then plonks herself in front of the elevator and won’t move… “Missy, handei mumba” (Let’s go in the house). “Baba, juice” and that was that. So we sat outside the elevator and waited. A couple of neighbors came out and gave us some strange looks sitting barefoot, right outside the elevator, singing nursery rhymes… By the time Baba got home juice was long forgotten and she was just happy to see him!

A lot more words, phrases and character traits are coming through thick and fast. She can count to 10 and not just parroting off she can recognize the numbers and go forward or back depending on how she’s feeling. She just started saying most colors when she sees them, red seems to still elude her tongue. The tantrums are still pretty tame (famous last words) though she seems to have her stubborn stare-down well-rehearsed, it’s a pleasant stare down which is reserved for me when I am denying her some basic human right, it often eventually breaks into a smile or a silly face!

This is going to be an amazing ride….. let’s hope I keep remembering to share it with you…

Peekaboo

Peekaboo

Today I am two….

20 Sep

Happy Birthday Lioness 

  

The princess is here: a day in the life of a strong-willed toddler.

24 Jul
Princess and her crown

Princess and her crown

Where do I begin, essentially her words have arrived and this has empowered her to well and truly establish her reign over her subjects. She can now also open and close doors by herself so she has no real need for us save for the bare necessities of life!

On, Monday, daycare was closed so Malaika had the pleasure of spending the day with Mammi (I am still quite annoyed she’s chosen to reject calling me Mama unless she wants to sugar coat her request). I am going to digress here a little. We both do our best to speak to her in Shona, tell her the Shona equivalent of things but it is easier said than done. Much to our disappointment her first words have been English ones, perhaps we are fully to blame, perhaps we are not. We’ll see how her language develops. It has made us more determined to Shona-fy her! Anyway back to our day. We started off at the library, it was story-time, a session she used to love to take part in, that was until she paid more attention to the fact there are unmaned computers outside the story-time area. I even switched off the screen before she got to it but she adamantly sat at the blank screen and banged away at the keyboard for a good chunk of time, enthusiastically forcing a kiss on me and saying bye-bye so I could leave her be. This happens a lot lately and she did it twice later on in the day, once when she wanted to hang out in her room with the door closed (turns out she has the runs, I guess no one wants to share those moments either) and another time when she was ‘on-the-phone’ with a toy car. She’s not even a teenager yet and she wants to be left alone! Anyway after the keyboard had no life left in it and she briefly bound up the stairs and then discovered other toddlers players with lego, dinosaurs and trains. This could be fun you’re thinking, until a little boy didn’t want to share his train, she grabbed it from him, he took it back, she sulked, he gave it back and he wanted him back and she smacked him! He was clearly close to melting point anyway because he cried so much he began to heave and his mother took him home….

Sunny day in the play park

Sunny day in the play park

We then made our way to the baby area where is a rather popular kitchen, she didn’t want to share the kitchen with another little girl who got there first, that produced a few tears and when she moved on to some books another girl wanted to read with her and she would have none of it. I told her she wouldn’t make any friends if she didn’t learn to be more friendly to which a lady produced commented “well she’s pretty enough not to have to worry about making friends!”. Really? Wow, I was at a loss, all I could say was you can’t get by on just your looks, she clearly begged to differ. After these ‘words of wisdom’ we went to watch free CBC outdoor #musicalnooners concert before going home for lunch and a nap! The rest of the afternoon included a brief bike lesson, a meltdown at WholeFoods over chips, a reading and singing session followed by dinner over Pepper Pig for her whilst I dreamed of a large glass of wine!

This was also  the first day she has been able to properly open and close a door with no hesitation. Her world is now suddenly filled with all these possibilities. The prime one being, if she doesn’t want to sleep she can just get up, open the door and be on her way to more interesting things. It used to be for many months after dinner we would brush our teeth, hop into bed, read a book or two, sing a rhyme, whisper a lullaby, have a few sips of tea, kiss and hug goodnight, I would say ‘goodnight I love you, see you tomorrow’, she would nod and wave, I would close the door and that was it until the morning. Sometimes she would stall and ask for ‘pee pee’ or ‘num num’ (food) but that was all, now she can let you leave, think you’re out of the woods, settle in for some telly and dessert and then you see this little face in the shadow, slowly creeping towards you saying ‘Mamma……what’s this?’ Before you know it, it’s been 4 attempts, your ice-cream is melted, it’s midnight and you haven’t the energy to catch up on Being Mary Jane. It’s like this all week…as my mum reminded me ‘Some mothers do have them!’

Eating chibage

Eating chibage

We have some new words and phrases, No is still ranking at number one followed by ‘What’s this’ , ‘What is this’ (this is for when you reply incorrectly and she needs you to get it right, emphasis on the IS) , ‘Who’s this’, ‘All done’ (this generally signals the end of whatever you or she is doing), ‘Bye-bye see you’ (a must at the end of every elevator ride, screamed louder if the occupants do not respond the first time) and ‘Oh no..’. Then we have more new words book, phone, shiri (bird), car, choochoo (train). There are many more and she’s learning and asking the words for things all the time.  When she masters a new word she has to keep repeating it over and over again until you just about lose your mind. It’s hard to be stern with her, we really have to work at it. It’s funny the things you remember but I remember my mother I think either trying to shout or hit me and then she burst out laughing instead. I have been doing this at least twice a day the last week and a half I have been spending all day with her. That face looks at your and you can’t keep a straight face!

Today we are going to try uniforms for daycare and then we are off to the lake house with Uncle Matty for 4 days! A much needed break.

Have a great weekend everyone, stay curious…

I believe I can fly

I believe I can fly

p.s. we have moved on from chicken skin , we now eat the whole wing and munch on the bones…

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