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joan: turning 3 in two months. Lately she says “I can’t read this” when she looks at books and packaging of any kind. She’s mystified that she can’t read yet. 

lux: turning 5 in two months. Looking through a book from the Finnish Moomin series. 

alma: chewing on her fingers, self-soothing like a genius baby.

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Joan: always wants to hold my hand when we walk. Nothing brings her closer to a meltdown than if I distractedly pull ahead without her when she examines a flower/bug/brick. 

Alma: such a light. Just passed four months. Grasping everything her fingers graze over, but not reaching for anything yet. She loves to lock eyes with strangers.

Lux: my attempt at an updated passport photo. I must have taken 30 photos of her, with not a straight face among them!

Last week the sky stayed gray for nearly the whole week. The clouds killed my interest in taking the girls anywhere, and the girl’s adventurous spirit seemed to wane as well. Lux and I had to have a real sit-down before her swim lesson. I knew she couldn’t see the vision but I reminded her of all the fun–splashing! ponds! water parks! pools with googles! –that was just around the corner if she could just stick with it for a few more weeks. She finally caught on and had a great lesson.

Our weekly sitter left for her summer abroad (students, sigh, the life) and, afraid of being stranded, I tried two new sitters the same week. It was too many disruptions for the girls of course, but I’m happy to be headed into the summer with help to call when needed.

Lux and Alma’s headbands were a gift from Ohio’s Ever Iris Designs. Go see the adorable grosgrain bands in flag colors. 

 

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Lux: children dreaming on the shoulders of their parents. Should be a series.

Joan: in the closet after picking out her clothes. “I look beautiful mama.”

Alma: She’s discovering all the wonderful ways to use her hands these days. 

Occasionally I look at Alma and worry I’m not taking enough photos. Is that stage gone already? Did I catch it? Did I even get one look at it? I think to myself. I don’t think I worried about this with Lux. Maybe I know now that when it’s gone, it’s gone. Or maybe I’m more addicted to documenting than ever before, and documenting one moment simply leads to wanting to document the next, and the next.

And yet I must be subconsciously finding it unsatisfying to rely on them as a record of what happened–as of course they are. What I want is a mental state that has documented all this. One enriched by all these wonderful things my eyes have photographed. I find it remarkable I can still manage to spin a day and say, that was too much, I was so weak and tired, oof glad it’s over. If I just took a moment to review my mental images from the day, it would be full of sweet wonder, blessing, and love.

It reminds me that a mental state of thankfulness and contentment is not a reflection of reality–it won’t appear, no matter how much beauty I see–but an attitude built on habit.

 

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Lux: taking a photo of pair of doors after I told her they were two of my favorites in the neighborhood.

Joan: her granola came with four blackberries. ‘I need more blackberries,’ she repeated for the rest of the meal. Don’t we all, Joan.

Alma: her little eyebrow furrows.

I had two food goals for March: 1/ get the girls to eat muesli or “cold oatmeal” for breakfast. I spend an enormous amount of my weekly budget on food, and yet I loathe putting money into cereal manufacturer’s coffers. The girl love oatmeal, but the ten-minute-prep-and-cool time is usually too long for us to wait. So muesli would eliminate processed grain cereal—saving money and cutting sugar. And it would mean breakfast would be ready in bowls, in the fridge, first thing every morning.

2/ Get the girls to eat beans and rice for several meals a week.

Both goals get an A for Attempted. Joan took to the muesli, aside from the one day I optimistically added raisins the night before and they bloomed into foreign things (in her mind). Lux did not take to it, now matter how charmingly I set out little bowls of brown sugar and raisins to accompany it, and she skipped breakfast all together on those days.

I made an enormous pot of rice and beans but made the mistake of following a recipe that asked for Chinese chili spice. It was too much for them, obviously, and it was just me that ended up eating rice and beans for about ten meals.

I’ll do a simple batch next and serve for lunch–a time when my meal prep is needlessly harried.

Both goals are coming with me into April.

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Lux: about to take a photo of spring blossoms with her camera, wearing her “sparkling water” outfit underneath. As in “I’m going to a sparkling water party.”

Joan: she loves to sprint down the hill and stops-short at each intersection. Wearing her current-favorite dress, pink and red cherries. She asks to sleep in it. 

Alma: listening to everything around her, turning her head to follow the blurred motions of her sisters. 

Speaking of blurs, this week went by in one. I remember doing my grocery shopping last Sunday like it was yesterday instead of a week ago. Some days Alma napped for several hours, some days she woke up after only 20-minute respites. It was hard for me to get anything done. Spring feels like it’s about to burst upon us, but instead we had rainy and grey days that kept us inside and a bit cooped up.

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Joan: a visiting-guest-photo by Bridget Hunt. Cuddling and coo-talking is how Joan spends most of her life.

Lux: a pink faux-fur collar cape under her jacket on the way to Alma’s doctor’s appointment. She’s always waiting for someone to notice her outfit. 

Alma: running a little low on the pediatrician’s weight curve this week, but good spirits always. 

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Alma: Her hair is slowly falling out, framing into a goofy tufted mohawk. She’s positively wreathed with smiles when she can hear her sisters talking.

Quote from the girls this week:

Lux: Is she {imaginary person} allergic to cats?

Joan: No, she’s not.

Lux: Well, I guess that means she can eat them.

 

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Alma: after her two-month-old visit to the pediatrician she clearly didn’t feel good for a few days. I realized how cheerful she typically is, quite in contrast!

Joan: she’s always making gifts for someone. Though, when the time comes to give it to them or send it to them, she’ll often change the story, the intended recipient, and hold on to it. 

Lux: Playing ingredient mixing with a pipette. She loves to do kitchen projects and frequently asks if we can bake together. A carrot cake is next on our list. 

This week was Joe’s first week back at work; it went very well. He managed to get home by 5:30pm on most of the days, which was enormously helpful. I was frustrated to find myself totally exhausted by 6pm every day, but I don’t think there’s much I can do about that.

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Naturally everyone wants to know how Joan and Lux are with Alma. The truth is, they’re barely with her! They probably notice and say hi to her once every couple hours. They are so busy with their imaginative games that I barely keep up with. They tell me if they hear her crying when I’m out of earshot, in the kitchen. “Ooo Alma,” they say in sympathy. “What?” “She’s crying.” Then we both frown at each other for a moment before I exit right to scoop her up.

If they’re in the room, Alma tracks their voices with her eyes, and I always point that fact out to them as it happens with exaggerated celebration. Mimicking my habit of pointing her interactions out to them (though unknowingly, I assume) Joan has said, “Mama, I’m smiling at Alma.” Then she smiles with the look of someone who has never practiced a conscious smile.

I feel like I have a secret they don’t know, that in a year or two she’ll be such a big part of their lives, just as vital and wonderful to them as they are to each other.

7 / 52…in puerto rico

7 lux 7 alma7 joan Lux: spent the whole week either anxiously ready for the pool, or in it. 

Alma: sleeping in my mom’s arms. Takes a pacifier–my first baby to do so.

Joan: wild and sweet, wild and sweet, wild and sweet. What a dichotomy!