Monday, November 26, 2012

1.583333 years

 At Kaia's 18-month well-baby visit the interim pediatrician entered the room and said, "here is the little wunderkind."  He was referring to the report he'd just been given by the P.A. student who performed Kaia's exam.  Apparently he was impressed by the fact that she's blowing every toddler milestone out of the water. She is pretty amazing.  She continues to entertain the entire family with her antics and is learning new concepts and words every day.  Here are a few things she's learned to do since my last Kaia post:

  • Buckle things.  A favorite activity now.  She has to buckle her booster seat when she's done eating and gets mad when I won't let her buckle and re buckle her car seat when we're trying to go somewhere.
  • Say even more.  She talks pretty clearly and uses full sentences often.  She'll hand me something and say, "here you go Mommy," or, when Kenzie is getting some veg-out time watching Dora Kaia, hoping to join her, will say, "want to sit on couch. on couch."  She sings verses of No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and Ring Around the Rosie.  
  • Ask questions.  She is always inquiring, "Mommy doin'? doin' Mommy?"  And her new favorite request since Halloween, "candy, mommy? candy?"
  • Be overtly defiant.  Up until now we could write off Kaia's lack of obedience as immaturity. Now it is clear that when we tell her "no, we do not throw food.  Do not throw your food, eat your food," and she looks me in the eyes and throws another spoonful of noodles, she is making a choice.
  • Count to six, or ten, or three.  Depends on how she's feeling.  This is a product of many, many games of hide-and-seek with Sister.  The first time we heard her count to six Dustin and couldn't believe it.
  • Snuggle.  She is a little cuddle bug, and not just with me.  I catch her and Kenzie snuggled under a blanket on the couch all the time.  Kaia copies her big sister and puts "babies" to bed (stuffed animals and the like) and will lie with them and cuddle.  When Kaia gives a hug she gives it with love.  Every time.
  • Pretend.  She's been pretend eating for a while, but she's beginning to create pretend situations now.  The other day she pretended to cry then looked at her teddy bear and said, "baby cry, baby sad."  She pretended to cry again and picked up her bear and told it, "okay, baby, okay baby."  
  • Fall for her first crush.  The girl is in LOVE with her cousin Josh.  She lights up when ever he is around and talks about him all the time.  Randomly she'll smile and say, "Joshy tickle me."  She's gaga for him!
We love our Kaia boo.  She is the silliest of us all, and we're a pretty silly bunch.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meeting Great Grandpa

My sweet, inquisitive McKenzie and I were driving in the car a few weeks ago when we passed a cemetery. She wanted to know what it was and I explained it in the simplest possible way.  She seemed to understand and asked many questions.

A week or so later she saw a picture on the computer of Great Grandma Ricci dancing at our wedding.  She wanted to know who she was dancing with and I told her that it was Great Grandpa Ricci, who died before she was born.  She wanted to know if he was in a cemetery.  When I told her he was, she wanted to know if we could go visit him.

I took McKenzie to meet him last week. On the way there Kenzie asked, "when we talk to the stone, can grandpa hear us?"  She listened intently as I answered. Kaia was napping in the car while Kenzie and I talked to grandpa's headstone.  We told him about Dustin's girls, who he never had the pleasure to meet.  We talked about how much we love visiting Great Grandma and how we miss him so much.

McKenzie was pretty quiet on the way home, mostly because she was tired, I think, but perhaps also because she was deep in thought.  When Kaia woke up before we were home I heard Kenzie whisper to her, "Kaia, honey, we met great grandpa."  Be still my heart.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Conversations with Kenzie

The night before Kenzie's outing to a local farm with Grampa, Grammie and Auntie Jenni she talked about feeding the sheep at the petting zoo:
McKenzie: Last time I didn't want to feed them because I was afraid that they would bite my little hand.  But I'm bigger now and my hands are bigger so I'm going to feed them this time.
We drove by a cemetery and Kenzie asked if it was a field for running in.  I explained what a cemetery is and was greeted by many questions, and this gem:
McKenzie: But I don't die, mommy. (pause) Unless I get hit by a car. 
This exchange was followed by many questions about Kenzie's cousin's dog, Shylah who was hit by a car last year.  She wanted to know firstly where Shylah was buried, and also exactly how she got there.  I tried my best to answer her questions without providing too grim of a visual.


The girls and I were at TJ Maxx to make a quick return and they were walking with me.  Kenzie started to hide under a rack of clothes when this conversation ensued: 
Me: Honey, please stay right where mommy can see you I don't want you hiding here.
McKenzie: Why mommy?
Me: Well, there are some bad people and I just like to know where you are all the time. So please no hiding here.
McKenzie: What kind of bad people?
Me: Just bad people.
McKenzie: Like Daddy?
Me: No! (laughter) Not like Daddy.  Just stay where I can see you okay?
Where that came from I have no idea, but I hope the worst bad person she ever comes in contact with is like daddy. 
I overheard this conversation the morning after Lily slept over.
Lily: I missed my mommy last night.
McKenzie: Lily, when you have a sleepover you don't have your mommy. You have someone else's mommy and daddy, but you don't have your mommy.  That's what a sleepover is, Lily, you have someone else's mommy but not your mommy. 
I couldn't see them, but I suspect that Lily, who is older than Kenzie knows what a sleepover is, probably had that deer-in-headlights look on her face because she couldn't believe that Kenzie would go to such great lengths to explain something so obvious.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Doin' mommy? Doin?"

Kaia always wants to know what I'm "doin'" and I thought you might be interested too.  The past couple months have been busy and fun (and busy), so here's a little recap of Ricci family happenings:

  • Dustin began working on a master's in educational technology this past summer and he is now taking nine graduate credit online classes.  It's the Two Summer's program at UCONN so he'll be completed with the program by the end of next summer.  It's crazy, though, he's so busy.  He's also working with a colleague to head up a club of students who are building an electric car to compete in Connecticut's Electrathon.  It's a big commitment.  AND, in his free time (ha!) he's building a kitchen for his brother's new house.  He's super busy and we are looking forward to his winter recess (from UCONN) so he can take a little break.
  • We went to the zoo! Roger William's Zoo didn't disappoint.  The giraffes and elephant were our favorites.
  • Kona had surgery to drain an abscess on his neck.  Then, when it didn't heal properly he had it again.  What fun!  The cone of shame was more like the cone of annoyance for Kona, but he dealt with it like a champ.  The first couple days he couldn't go up stairs without slamming his cone into something, but by day three was chasing the ball as usual.  The vet was happy to see that he actually wore the cone, it was obvious because it was covered with dents and scratches and had pieces of grass poking out of the Velcro.  That's our boy.

  • We have been spending more time with my friend Robin and her daughter Maddie.  We met at a playgroup earlier this year and Maddie is only three weeks older than Kaia.  We've had a lot of fun getting to know each other.  We all had fun picking apples in early September.

  • We hosted a 60th birthday party for my mom.  She was so touched that people traveled from so far to be here for her.  It was a great day and it was so nice to spend some quality time with my uncles, who I see far too seldom.

  • The girls and I spent some time visiting friends and family in Greenfield.  Mindy's boys are so sweet and the girls love to see them.  After this visit Kaia asked for Benjamin daily.  She would ask, "Ben? Ben?" then sadly say, "home."  He seemed pretty smitten with her too.  They had fun playing in Benjamin's new tent.

  • We celebrated Halloween.  McKenzie chose to be a cowgirl and Kaia was a duck.  McKenzie knew the trick-or-treat routine but we were curious to see how Kaia would react to the free candy.  She was so focused on opening the first piece of candy that she got the she didn't really care about going to the next house.  Things like this really show the difference between the girls' personalities.  When Kenzie went trick-or-treating for the first time it didn't take her long to figure out how it worked.  She didn't even ask for candy, she just kept going from house to house collecting more.  It wasn't until the car ride home that she had her first piece.  She's a thoughtful planner. Kaia, on the other hand, is all about instant gratification.  She rarely (if ever) seems to think about the outcome of her actions, even after the fact.

  • Sweater weather is my favorite time of the year.  Two of our favorite outdoor activities are playing in the leaves (which we haven't raked or mowed all season so there are a LOT) and mushroom hunting. We have some pretty funky mushrooms in our yard and woods.  The general rule is that the girls can poke them but not touch them.  Sometimes we collect them, though, to show daddy.  Puffballs are the best.