Kiwi is 14 months: Copycat kid

Despite the two years that separate them, Kiwi and Peeper sometimes look like twins—well, a long-haired twin and one with barely enough hair to put up in a whale spout. But this past month, Kiwi’s love of doing everything her big sister does means I have two kids who give me twice the trouble and twice the joy. Because Kiwi is a walking, talking, singing copycat kid.

Kiwi the copycat kid does just about everything else we do. She blows her nose when I have a cold. She combs her hair with a sock when Peeper’s getting her pigtails in. She washes Peeper in the bath just like I do.

In one part of the Cinderella CD we listen to every single darn time we get in the car, Peeper sings along to the chorus—“Ahhh ahhh ahhh ahhhh!” Kiwi does the same, though without much of a tune.

Peeper is learning how to turn a cartwheel in gymnastics. She was showing us the other day, and Kiwi tried to mimic her—and actually got pretty close! Kiwi’s cartwheels were more like headstands, but she did accidentally do a somersault, too. Peeper was thrilled: She clapped and exclaimed, “She’s doing it! She’s doing it!”

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, my toddler is really buttering us up! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Kiwi is all eyes—and then she gets it. After watching Peeper or another one of us, she launches into her own version, whether it’s dancing or scrubbing down her high chair.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well, Kiwi is really buttering us up.  Read more

Raising two kids: It gets easier

Last weekend was full—in the best way.

On Friday night, a high schooler who lives across the street babysat the girls while Eric and I went to the opera. We dressed up, met up with friends, had a fancy schmancy drink and enjoyed the Portland Opera’s The Magic Flute. We hadn’t been to the opera—something I truly love—since last Valentine’s Day.

Portland Opera The Magic Flute - Ten Thousand Hour MamaOn Saturday we met up with a friend and his kids for a round of disc golf and swimming in the river at Milo McIver Park. Then we went to my brother’s house, where we played corn hole and let Peeper plant cucumber and lettuce seedlings. To round out the day, friends and their baby came to our house for dinner.

Parenting gets easier riverFinally, on Mother’s Day, we drove up Mt. Hood for a hike along the Salmon River.

Parenting gets easier family hikeOn the drive back home, I reflected on the packed and truly fulfilling weekend. It struck me that we never could have pulled off all those activities—some planned, some impromptu—just a few months ago.  Read more

Kiwi is 8 months

Baby dandelion Ten Thousand Hour MamaThis post is really late, but work/life/everything has been a bit much. Life ebbs and flows, and we’ve been at high tide for a while now.

But Kiwi moseys along, oblivious to deadlines and the empty fridge and the thick layer of dog hair on the unvacuumed carpet. (Ok, she actually does notice all that hair, especially considering a large amount of it ends up in her mouth.)

Kiwi is now mobile. She was so close to crawling for what seemed like forever, and then one day she finally managed to move forward instead of backward. She never looked back.

Ten Thousand Hour MamaBaby crawling Ten Thousand Hour MamaBaby with doll Ten Thousand Hour MamaNot being stuck in one place has revolutionized her life (and ours, obvi!). She is even more engaged now that she can spy something that interests her and get to it. Read more

Kiwi is 7 months: Sisterhood

Baby fox toy Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Everybody’s doing a brand new dance now,
I know you’ll like it if you give it a chance now,
Come on baby, do the Locomotion!

The last month Kiwi has been all about moving around!

She’s not crawling, although she’s made it to all fours and is occasionally rocking, the first steps toward that milestone. But she intentionally rolls toward a destination where she’s set her sights—a beach ball, her toy piano, and especially Finn.

Baby fox toy Ten Thousand Hour MamaBaby and dog Ten Thousand Hour MamaShe also moves by whale tale splash, a special move she’s waiting to patent. While on her back, she lifts her entire body up to her shoulders and slams it back down on the ground. She swivels around like this and, by all measures, looks very proud of herself.

Sisters forever

Kiwi has also started the Peeper Fan Club. She is, of course, President. The two of them have also started a band. Kiwi does solo side projects, too.

Kiwi Rock from Catherine Ryan Gregory on Vimeo.

Sisters band Ten Thousand Hour MamaSisters band guitar Ten Thousand Hour MamaSisters Ten Thousand Hour MamaShe’s pretty much obsessed with Big Sister. Peeper can do no wrong. Even when she is hitting Kiwi in the face with a pom pom or grabbing toys away, Kiwi stares and giggles.

Sisters Ten Thousand Hour MamaSisters Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Oh so tired

Over the last few weeks, everyone in the house has been passing a cold back and forth. Kiwi has been sniffling for what seems like forever. During the day she’s still her usual cheerful self, but the nights have been brutal.

Every night is worse than the last. My euphoria over her successful sleep training has been replaced by despair as I feed her to sleep every two hours. And the last few nights, she has been awake in the deep, dark hours when everyone else is snuggled safely in their dreams.

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart; parenting two is even harder. But when I’m living in a sleep-deprived fog no quantity of caffeine can touch, beautiful rays of light break through: the love these girls share.

Shine on, sisters.

Sisters Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Becoming a good enough mother

Sometimes striving to be the best mama just ends in tears. Sometimes it's ok to just be a good enough mother. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I had it all planned out.

Peeper and I went to the Dollar Store for a special mama-daughter adventure. We got, among other things, an absurd number of heart balloons.

We made it home without any of the balloons floating away or causing a traffic accident. On the drive, I had told Peeper about how we’d take a picture with Kiwi and the balloons, and she could watch Daniel Tiger afterwards. (Yes, a blatant bribe. I stand by that tactic.)

So I set up the sisters with the balloons, turned on my camera and got ready to photograph some serious cuteness.

Ha.

Ha.

Ha.

Valentine's Day balloons sisters - Ten Thousand Hour Mama
“No that’s MY balloon!”

Peeper resisted. She flopped on her back. She cried. She squirmed away.

Peeper’s fit frightened her little sister, so Kiwi began to cry, too.

I gave up. I nearly cried. I did not feel like a good mother or even a good enough mother. Read more

Kiwi is five months

DSC_1046The other morning Kiwi woke up from a nap and I startled when I looked at her.

“You got bigger!” I exclaimed.

I swear she grew in the 45 minutes she was asleep. She has changed so much in the five months since she was born.

Yet some things have stayed the same. Kiwi entered the world talking—not crying—and she is even more of a chatterbox these days. She squeaks, coos, gurgles and squeals all day (and, ahem, night) long. She clearly has a lot to say!

DSC_1210Kiwi is rolling over both ways, trying to sit up on her own and laughing up a storm. She has become remarkably intentional in her explorations of the world. She reaches out her hand to bat at a toy or the Christmas tree, and she turns over or contorts her body to get a better look at what Big Sister Peeper is doing.

IMG_4276The two girls are interacting more. One day while Peeper was sitting on the potty, she yelled “ha!” for some reason. Kiwi giggled, so Peeper did it again—and again—and again, eliciting bigger belly laughs each time. And the other morning, Peeper saw me tickling Kiwi by nibbling her cheeks, tummy and armpits, so she copied me. “Nom nom nom!” she said as she gummed her little sister’s side.

IMG_4325At the same time, I haven’t wished for time to stop or even slow down. The last five months have been among the most challenging of my life. Kiwi is napping much better and starting to sleep more at night, but the ongoing lack of rest has been brutal on me. And my transition to mom of two has been less than graceful. So I smile when I look back on newborn pictures of Kiwi, but I don’t want to transport myself back to those days.

Plus, why stop time when every day brings something new? Kiwi is changing by the minute, or at least by the nap.

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