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In other Serena news, she took a three hour nap this afternoon. On waking, she said several new words, made some new signs, and had the potty adventure mentioned before. She played happily for about two hours, then ate three cups of yogurt, drank a large glass of milk, nursed several times and collapsed back into sleep.

I sense a growth spurt coming on. Bones, I’m thinking. The child is growing bones. She did look taller to me when she got up from that nap.

Serena has begun to signal when she needs a diaper change. Today, she went the next step and enthusiastically signalled to me that she needed the potty *before* soiling her diaper. She sat down on her little red potty and produced a single, tiny hard turd. She was so excited by this that she leapt up and begun babbling wildly, pointing at her poo while jumping up and down. Then with great authority, she carried the potty to the toilet and dumped it in. Having completed this solemn task, she tore a long sheet of toilet paper from the roll, carefully wiped her bottom (and legs, and back) and put it in the potty. Then she flushed. Finally, she asked to wash her hands.

I was amazed to learn that she knows the entire potty routine. Apparently, she has simply been waiting for her moment to execute the whole ritual.

I left her washing her hands and went to find a fresh diaper. When I returned a few minutes later, I saw that she had produced an entire pile of hard little turds, which she was gleefully placing one by one in the potty. She came running over to show me a turd, practically vibrating with pride, and then carefully demonstrated how to put it in the potty.

What do you say at a moment like that? I went with, “That’s great! We do put our poop in the potty! yes! But we don’t use our hands. Don’t touch that! Yucky!” while speed-cleaning thankfully-not-very-messy mess.

Then I put her back in the sink for some vigorous hand-washing, where she demonstrated her other cute confusion about grooming by taking a fistful of handsoap and rubbing it vigorously all over her head. This is amazingly sweet, and I’m glad she’s learning to wash her hair. But it is messy and she does it every time she gets near a sink. She must have the cleanest hair in Toddlerdom.

After all this, we had to take a bath, of course.

Rio, to her goddess-mama: “You know what? One of the things of me celebrating Chanukah is me showing you our Christmas tree.”

EDIT: also, to warm my heart, she did the candle-lighting and prayers with her goddess mama and closed by saying, ‘Blessed be’

I’m trying to lie down for a nap while the baby sleeps, and Rio has been doing her best to keep me up for an hour. Finally I lay down and she climbs on the bed with me to continue her babble-requests – I’m *still* hungry! I need a glass of water! Do you need a glass of water? Will you read me this story? Can I turn the music on for you? I can get you another blanket. Would you like to have my nightlight? Please get my dollhouse off the shelf!

I say, “You know, sometimes when I am with you and you are sleeping and I am not, I like to lie next to you and read a book.”

She says, “You know what Mama? Sometimes when you are taking a nap, I like to read a book.”

I say, “Great!”

She walks over to the bookcase with great purpose. I wait for the inevitable and sure enough, a moment later, “Actually, you know what Mama? I can’t read.”

“Does Santa have elves? I mean, are they real?”

“I have never visited Santa, but it’s my understanding that he really has elves.”

“Right. Because if he didn’t have elves, who would make the presents. Does he make them? Does someone else? He must have elves.”

“Right.”

“In the movie, he has elves. I just wonder if they are real. In life.”

“Mom, can we watch TV?”

“Uh, I think the TV is broken.” (this is a lie, I know perfectly well that the TV has been fixed since the elections, but I haven’t turned it on since then and don’t want to. this is the first time she has asked).

We repeat this about a dozen times, until I come close to breaking because I feel lousy and would really like a break from hanging out with a nagging four-year-old who is following me around begging to watch TV.

Then she lies down in bed next to me and her sick sister, and puts her arms out, holding one straight out and one closer to her body, bent at the elbow.

The arms introduced themselves to each other in silly voices, and then proceeded to have a little conversation, complete with moving the hands as if they were speaking.

“Hello Long Arm.”
“Hello Short Arm.”
“How are you today Long Arm?”
“Not Very Good I’m afraid.”
“Really? What’s the matter, Long Arm?”
“I’m bored. I want to watch a movie.”
“Well, if you’re bored…”

At this point both the arms soar upward and Rio leaps up in the bed, where she performs an original song about all the silly and amazing things one can do when one is bored.

normally, the Waldorf insistence on TV abstinence drives me bug-fuck, and I am certainly not pushing it for anyone else. But I’m glad I didn’t miss this moment by giving in to her request for passive entertainment.

Today on homeschooling: helped Rio cross-dress her paper dolls. She has a set of paper dolls that are taken from photo images of Hawaiian royalty (who doesn’t?), and she just came to me concerned because the Queen’s dresses would not fit her husband. I helped her adjust the tabs so that the dress hung awkwardly from the boy doll.

‘He’s really nice and pretty,’ she said when I was done. ‘Yes,’ I said.

“Daddy! Serena turned off Christmas! The whole Christmas!”

Last night, I went out with my best friend. We strolled around Davis Sq. and I bought a few stocking stuffers and brainstormed about holiday gifts. I very much wanted to give something memorable and lasting, but not physical. Something that could strengthen us as a couple, but that’s not just about food and sex.

Finally, I hit upon The Perfect Gift. loves live music, and he thrives on social justice activism. I’d find a Thing related to activist music, and take him to it. Maybe a concert, maybe an open jam session. Something. Something where he could enjoy the event itself and also make connections with activists and musicians, to start rebuilding his own social sphere around the things he loves.

So this morning I sent an e-mail to a friend who I thought might know what I was looking for. Sure enough, the Thing exists. A network of activist musicians. And they had a big concert. Tonight.

Thank you, Universe, for answering my wish. I just got home, and am waiting for , who took the T (not as fast as my mad biking skilz). The concert was great, but not as great as just being with him. It feels like it’s been months since I even saw this man, despite the fact that we share a house and a bed.

A house and bed we are not sharing with our beautiful children tonight. I am probably a bad mama for sending two sickish, cranky kids off to Nana’s house for the weekend. I definitely get no daughter points for not telling my mom the girls had been sick before she picked them up. But I’m not sorry. I will be a better mother, daughter and all-around fabulous human being tomorrow for having had twelve uninterrupted hours to be myself and enjoy my partner.

Rio decided she was sufficiently recovered to go out to the gingerbread house workshop, so we went. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and she made a beautiful gingerbread house. I have never made a gingerbread house, and was stunned at Rio’s ability to make a great one. Not just by cute kid standards.

But on the way to the event, she sneezed. Now, she has a stomach virus, not a runny nose, so I did pack an complete set of extra clothes and a bottle of water for her. But I neglected to bring tissues.

So she sneezes and says, “Mama, may I please have a tissue?”

And I search around in my bag and the pockets of the van and stuff until I find a sock on the floor of the van. Not a clean sock. A kind of damp, crusty sock. I hand it to her and say, “You can wipe your nose on this.”

So I probably richly deserved it later when she said, “Mama, I sneezed again. I need a new sock!”

I probably lose ten million mom points for that. But I gain them back for her sitting on the floor next to me while I type this, singing “Peace coming to the Earth” to the tune of “Coin-Operated Boy”.

Flickr Photos

Holding hands

Emerson graduation smiles

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More Photos

A little bird told me…

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