Claire has really enjoyed reading The Magic School Bus: The Search for the Missing Bones, a stocking stuffer from Santa this past Christmas. We have read this chapter book several times, and each time she pays keen attention to the various notes and diagrams about the human skeleton. She seems to enjoy the diagrams more than the story itself. She has lots of questions and is just curious about people’s bones. I had told her we would get out a replica human skeleton that Kit has around somewhere… just as soon as we could find it.
Today Claire stumbled upon this skeleton, wrapped carefully in bubble wrap, in a cabinet downstairs, behind a coin cup that I use almost every day (of course!). Claire was really excited when we unwrapped it and set it up on its stand. She quickly dressed it in plastic jewelry and gave it a plastic purse to hold onto. She also took a scientific interest in the skeleton. She repeatedly and carefully counted the vertebrae in this skeleton’s backbone. It usually comes out to 15, but sometimes comes to as many as 17 by her count. ( The “real” answer is 33. Maybe she is counting 2 as 1?) She is also particularly interested in the rib cage and its relationship to the heart and stomach.
Then it is back to letting her Littlest Pet Shop toys crawl around the skeleton and sleep in his mouth or look for his missing heart. (She has also been watching The Wizard of Oz.)
Molly has been developing her walking skills over the last few weeks. We have been counting how many steps she takes at a time. “She took 8 steps!” “She took 10 steps at school!” These accomplishments are all normally in a nice controlled indoor environment with some parental or teacher encouragement.
As of today, I think we can stop counting steps. For that matter, we can stop the nightly walking practice
Today at a birthday party at Claire’s friend’s house, Molly was hanging out, sitting on the driveway playing with an orange golf ball, surrounded by kids on bikes and scooters. Then Molly decided that she wanted to get to the back yard where the petting zoo was set up. So she just got up on her own and walked the length of the driveway to the backyard
, dodging bikes and scooters along the way, eventually arriving at the steps of the backyard on two feet with orange golf ball in hand. Molly had taken 50 consecutive steps, that I counted. There is no doubt this kid can walk now.
Molly then climbed four or five steps up, and then climbed back down, and then climbed up a bit, and finally dropped the orange golf ball, and cried a bit, and climbed back down to get it, and then climbed back up a bit. Then it was cake time, so we went inside, where Molly just helped herself to a seat at the table alongside Claire’s friends. I think Molly earned that seat.
Molly has been picking up more words in just the last few days. She now sometimes asks for milk by name, which comes out as simply “mmm mmm mmm” while she is emphatically pointing at the milk bottle during breakfast.
Today at school she was making what sounded like babbling sounds I realized she was actually saying “bubble” over and over. Sure enough, she was pointing right at a bottle of liquid for making bubbles.
Molly also likes to call out balls by name when she sees one, and she carefully and slowly sounds out the whole word: “baaaaallll”. Of course, she has a pretty loose definition of a ball. It seems to mean “anything you can pick up and play with”. For instance, a book or a toy might count as a ball. Close enough, right? She should probably not be umpiring in a baseball game at this point, though. There would be lots of walks.
Here is a photo that everyone seems to particularly enjoy. Grammy has dubbed it, “Mutt and Jeff at the sandbox”. Claire and Molly were just playing around outside late in the afternoon on a day home from school for MLK day.
Molly can walk, a little bit. But she seems unsure about this whole two-legged balancing thing, and she still prefers to crawl. To encourage her to stand and walk, we have even been having “walking practice” every night after dinner. This was Kit’s idea. It is a fun event. It starts with us chanting over and over, “Walking practice! Walking practice! Walking practice!” Molly gets real excited, as does Claire. Kit sits on the floor holding Molly out in front of her in a standing position, and I sit a few feet away with Claire in my lap. (There is a continual debate about exactly how far I should be from Kit, ie how far Molly should walk. I want to let Molly stretch it out a bit, while Kit wants to avoid a discouraging fall, depending on how you look at it.) Nonetheless, Claire and I wave our hands and yell, “Come on, Molly! Come on!” Molly slowly plods over in our direction, slowly planting one foot in front of the other, sometimes falling before she gets to us, but usually making it far enough to tumble over into Claire’s and my arms, where we pick her up and shout “Yeah Molly!”. Molly and Claire are all grins. They love the cheering and seeing Molly walk. We repeat this event a few more times and then put the typically exhausted Molly to sleep.
Molly has been fascinated with our dog Muffin for weeks. Muffin is always there as Molly sits in her high chair and drops (actually, throws) her unwanted food on the floor. Molly has actually gotten pretty good at throwing her sippy cup at Muffin, but Muffin gladly braves the possibility of suddenly being pelted on the head for the possibility some spare bread, cheese, or sometimes better.
Lately, Molly has been trying to say “doggie” as she watches the fuzzy dog on the floor. She always seems to get stuck on the “G” sound, and it usually comes out as “daddy” even though she is clearly pointing at the dog. But Molly seems determined to say this tricky word more than any other right now, and she keeps pointing at Muffin’s picture in a little book we have (from Grammy) and trying to say “doggie”. Until yesterday it still normally came out as “daddy”. But no longer. Yesterday she got it several times, as you will see (actually, hear) at the end of this short video.
|Picture a baby climbing this…
Today we had finally packed up all the Christmas decorations and had the boxes ready to load into the attic. Usually we prefer to do chores when the kids (or at least Molly) are sleeping. But we had to load the boxes into the attic during waking hours because the attic stairs are right next to the girls’ room, and it would be loud and disruptive to do it while they sleep. So we just took both kids upstairs into the hallway and tried to do it quickly before Molly got into any trouble.
Molly almost immediately disappeared around the corner into our bedroom. But Claire alerted us, and we went and returned Molly back within our sight. At this point, we had the attic ladder down, and Claire asked if she could climb up into the attic to see what it looked like. We thought it sounded sort of dangerous for a five year old girl to climb up that rickety ladder, but we said she could go up there very carefully under supervision when we were done loading up. During this very conversation, Molly went ahead and just started climbing the rickety ladder up towards the attic. It was shocking to see this little 17-pound girl, who cannot quite walk, confidently climb this wobbly open ladder with at least a full foot between rungs. And she climbed it fast! By the time we fully absorbed what was happening, she was nearly half way up, and pretty soon she was near the top. We really had to scramble to keep her from actually going into the attic, which she no doubt would have done.
Hey, she could have at least taken a box or two up with her, right?
We were all at home for another extended weekend, this time for the New Year. This time we did not have the energy or courage to take a day trip like over Thanksgiving, so we just stayed around home. Claire and Molly love staying and just playing at home all day, but sometimes the fun turns into just bouncing off the walls. One time Claire actually did literally mimic bouncing off the walls, running from one wall to the next, spinning around like a pinball.
One January 2, we found ourselves lounging around the house in the morning just letting little the girls do whatever they want. Molly ended up sitting in a drawer, contentedly babbling and fiddling with stuff. Meanwhile, Claire started a zany dance interpretation of a butterfly, jumping up on a stool for a better stage. Claire does this kind of thing occasionally, but normally she is pretty camera-shy about it. This may be wise. Perhaps this post is exactly what she was trying to avoid! But for whatever reason, she did not mind the camera this time. See for yourself.
Today Claire went to a friend’s house for a New Year’s Day (school is closed) play date. This kid had every musical instrument you could think of. One room was covered in toys as well as a real drum set and various guitars. At first, I assumed the kids had taken over the dad’s old music room, but that was not so. The instruments were intended for the kids.
Anyways, it was a fun time, and I got a couple of interesting pictures of Claire rocking out in her very favorite outfit of late, which just happened to be a great rock ‘n’ roll outfit.
Claire has not shown a lot of interest in actual rock ‘n’ roll music so far, but she has been telling me she wants to be a “church singer”, which I think means singing in a choir. Still, the choir clothes are not as cool.