Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Life with Lola

We were playing Wii tennis the other day.

Lola missed a serve and it flew by her Mii character, untouched.

"Ace!" I said, teasing.

She stuck her hand on her hip, turned and faced me while rolling her eyes.

"Mom, this isn't cards."

I have failed as a mother. Ha.

Then again, last night, we spent a half-our last night discussing women's suffrage. So maybe I haven't completely failed. Yet.

This kid.

She turned 9 years old a couple of weeks ago. On Facebook, I said she's our "firecracker," and that's rather accurate. Everything she does is at full-speed. She lights up our lives with her drive, her passion, her hunger to understand everything in the whole world right now today.

When explaining or introducing Lola, I frequently say, "Lola is challenging," but I don't mean it in the sense of, she's challenging to deal with (though, trust me!, she can be) but I mean it in the sense of, she challenges the whys. She doesn't accept that "this is the way it has always been done." And, for that, I love her even more.

She's smart and competitive.

Sure, she's frequently referenced as my "mini me," but she's so much more than me. She's artistic and kind. Sweet by nature. She's driven and goal-oriented.

I will forever remember finding months the gymnastics report card that showed the still-missing checkmarks that she would need to move up to the next level. Every night for who knows how long she would use that piece of paper to mark her place in her latest book, focusing on the areas that she needed to improve in before she could move up.

And then, how quickly it was replaced by the congratulatory letter that came months later, inviting her to the "team."

She is always up for a new adventure, a new experience.

She brightens my days with stories and laughter. She is my go-to helper, my daytime partner, my friend.

But she will always be my baby.

She's at that age where she is pulling away, just a bit. More alone time in her bedroom, more time with her music and her journals, her friends, her hopes, her dreams.

But she always come back, for the occasional snuggle, for storytimes.

For comfort.

Because my imaginative kid has an all-too-real imagination that frequently blurs nightmares and reality.

It doesn't happen too often, but about once a month, she'll trudge into the living room, not awake, not asleep. Somewhere in the middle. She collapses in the couch next to me, dropping her head onto my lap as I lightly, so lightly, trace my fingertips along her shoulder blades.

We don't speak much. She won't remember it anyways. Tomorrow, she'll wrinkle her forehead when I talk about when she came out of bed. She won't recall any of it.

But I will.

I'll remember the warmth of her breath of my lap, the rise and fall of her chest with each breath, the baby-smoothness of her unblemished skin. I'll remember the lines from her swimsuit tan, fainter than my own; each knob along her spinal cord; the unpredictability of her thick hair, as it fell to wherever it wanted; the eventual sigh of relief as the tenseness in her body is released, as she finally finds peace.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fourth reflections

We celebrated our Fourth with sunshine and smiles.

We even trekked it down to the parade in town.

We don't always make it down for the parade this year but this year was a bit special.

It was Lola first time in the parade.

She joined her fellow gymnasts to celebrate the Fourth with cartwheels and walkovers.
video



I think my favorite line from the weekend came from Millie though.

We were getting ready for bathtime when she began arguing (nicely, in her Millie way) about which toys she should be allowed to play with in the tub. I have a fairly strict "No Barbies in bath" rule, which pretty much means that we don't get 10-inch-tall dolls wet; for whatever reason once their hair gets wet it gets all crunchy and the girls won't play with them again. So we tend to (try) to keep them dry.

Millie hates this rule. And letting Ariel be the exception to the rule hasn't helped much because if she can get wet, why can't the others? Ha.

Anyhow, it was early in the weekend when Millie began negotiating with me.

"But Mommy," she finally said. "Can Moana play in the water? Moana likes the water! She always goes back to the water, she likes it so much!"

Then she began singing the Moana song, just for effect...
See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me.

She got a big laugh, for originality.

But, no, Moana still didn't make it in the bath.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Millie's birthday!

Wow. I just turned the calendar to July. JULY!

(And, yes, I realize that it's not quite July yet but in my world of freelancing and writing, meeting deadlines, etc., I'm always a week ahead of what the real date is. It's probably why I never know what the heck the date really is, on those very rare times when I'm actually filling out a check or signing some kind of document.)

So, let's catch up on June!

First and foremost, my littlest girl turned 6 years old last week!

Millie brings us so much joy. She loves to make people laugh and smile. She loves to be the center of attention and I truly believe that she will in some way find her way to some kind of stage as she gets a bit older.

She has outgrown nearly all her struggles and while we can still occasionally get hung up on a certain word or phrase that we don't immediately recognize, that is becoming more rare. It is definitely the exception these days.

She loves Jesus and fancy dresses. She loves Shimmer and Shine and Moana. She loves swimming and playing with any kind of gooey substance (slime, putty, play sand, etc.).

She's my picky eater who would survive on yogurt and fruit snacks, if I would let her.

She's afraid of being left alone. She hates going to bed alone and wakes herself early in the morning (usually) just so she can come out and be with others.

She loves puppies, kitties, and babies.

She hates physical activity and will fight me on every walk. We've even made up a song just to keep her going: Going for a walk with Millie, Because she's so silly, walk walk walk, Laugh laugh laugh, Going for a walk with Millie...

Her arrival into my world changed everything: priorities, goals, personal viewpoints, beliefs. Everything. She's got me wrapped around her little finger and knows it. She's plays me like a fiddle, knowing the exact moments to offer a hug or goofy grin.

"You're my best in my whole world!" she says now, whenever I agree (or am debating whether to agree) with whatever transactions she's offering.

She lives in her own little world. Whatever catches her eye is the most important thing in the world and nothing will distract her from that.

Take this photo, for example, from when we walked into Athleta:

She walked in the door, immediately sat on down in the middle of the store, and began yoga-ing with the mannequin. I mean, who does that?! But it made me smile.

She always makes me smile. Happy birthday, Kiddo. I hope it was grand.

***

But, there has been more to life than Millie's birthday these days (just don't tell her that!).

We've been baking!



We've been to the zoo, and spent time getting to know some butterflies.



We've gone on rides...





The girls played in foam!



We've visited Itasca!


The girls have gotten a few new dresses (and a new haircut for Lola).


Lola has broadened her horizons and tried a high-ropes course, which she loved.



This is summer -- and summer is awesome.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Summer!

There is, seriously, nothing better.

 Mommy, I'm making snow angels!
Which, were, really, dandelion-fluff angels!



Our first calla of the season.
Ray planted these for me when we first got the house.
Callas, our wedding flowers. *aww!*




The weather has been perfect thus far! We are soaking up the sunshine and the smiles. Sure, I'm still adjusting to this whole kids-home-24/7-and-Ray-is-gone-working thing but I think we're doing great so far! Lots of outside play, gardening, biking, tennis-ing, walking, and sprinkler-ing.

Great times.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Life with Lola

When I was a kid, I remember one day when I was frustrated with having to do chores. (I was a lazy kid, I'll be honest. I hated any kind of work.)

I was crabbin' and whining at my mom at my mother that day: "I can't wait til I'M a mom and I can make my own kid do all this stuff s I don't have to."

"Ha, you have to raise them first," she responded.

WELL, I'm happy to say -- thrilled, really -- to finally be at the stage where I can pass off all the crappier jobs to my 8-year-old.

Or, really, mainly, the stupid hose.

I hate the hose. It's on the "wrong" side of the house, so it's the furthest away from the garden and the flowers, etc. It's long and it's dirty and I hate unwinding it from the stupid holder thing, pulling it out, getting out the kinks, just to use it for 30-40 minutes and then have to coil it back up, a few feet at a time.

I find the whole process ridiculously annoying. I used to pray for rain just so I didn't have to water. (OK, so I'm still lazy.)

So, yesterday, in a fit of frustration (not that I ever get frustrated!) I asked (ordered, probably not too nicely), Lola to be in charge of the hose and she did MARVELOUS.

Even better, she did it without complaining or whining.

Which basically tells me she's a better kid than I was at her age. Ha.

***

At some point this spring, we were at school for something for Lola and she was flipping and cartwheeling all around her campus. Despite our reminders to please stop doing gymnastics, it continued when she thought we weren't looking.

One of the staffers caught her and asked, "Do you gymnastics like that at home too?" in a kind of warm-but-warning kind of way. As in, Please stop doing that now.

Lola's response? "Yup."

But Ray laughed. And he tells the story about when he was a kid, and we would be caught tossing a football around school during times that he probably wasn't supposed to do that either.

"Do you throw that around in your house at home too?" he recalled a teacher asking him, when he was a kid, in that same Please stop doing that voice that adults get.

His response. "Yup."

Like father like daughter.

Some days.  :)