Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blue Snowflakes

I always look forward to revisiting seasonal activities, just to see what variations on a theme we can come up with and to see how the girls' new skills change our outcomes.  This time we decided to play with blues... I think we're still under the influence of Yves Klein.  We used blue paper for some snowflakes and also all our blue markers to decorate white paper before cutting it up.  This was a great way to engage everyone's abilities since cutting snowflakes is beyond CC's fine motor skills and for Sabrina all that detailed cutting becomes tiresome.  I love that moment of anticipation when you start to unfold your snowflake.  And I adore having the windows of my study covered in snowflakes now, and beyond to see snow-covered lawns.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Spinning Art

I held on to the spin art spinner even though we ran out of paint and interest.  Two years later  Sabrina and CC rediscovered it and using markers made lovely art.  It was great fun to combine colors and wait for the spinner to stop to see our results.  Two of the favorites, a rainbow and a yellow and gray pattern hang on my wall.  And Sabrina made a little book for Maya to look at.  A lovely way to spend a Monday morning that kept us all home.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Four Months Later

This is what life looks like four months after Maya's birth.  Sabrina is sweet, eager to please, sometimes a quiet companion devouring books by the fire, at other time someone I can have long interesting conversations and make exciting plans with (parties is a favorite topic, as are the characters and plots of the many books she reads).  She is more mature and clever than I often give her credit for, and yet is still so transparent, so easy to connect with, the way young children are. 

CC is spunky and independent (unless she decides she must be a clone of Sabrina), and always willing to be silly.  Her adorable chattering baby voice, her incredible vocabulary and poignant questions and observations, her laughter or her screams fill the daytime hours in our home.  "When I lose my baby teeth will I still be myself?" and "Babies should never die and go to heaven because they just got here from heaven." nonchalantly come from CC's little mind and heart.

And then there's Maya, who like her expression in this photo, is perpetually amazed at everything around her.  She by turns looks stunned (gasping even when surprised) or delighted, gracing us with big open-mouthed smiles, crinkled twinkling eyes and squeals of joy.  Her voice, once a tiny coo, is now loud and steady--always before naps she must fuss loudly for a minute or two.  She gets frustrated trying to turn over and screams with the effort.  And at night she wakes us with her loud babbling. 

And the three together are something very different.  Even with Maya's limited participation, they are often in a world of their own, a world of children, siblings, sisters. Sabrina and CC huddle around Maya as she lounges in her bouncy chair, vying for her attention, singing her songs, patting, petting, stroking her, partnering on plans to entertain their baby sister.  And Maya glows from the love around her.  That the love in my heart and in Patrick's would grow for our new child I knew.  But that my two older children, who were already love personified, would embrace a new being in this way, becoming more loving, sweeter, more generous, that I did not expect.  And witnessing it has been one of the many blessings of the last months.

Friday, January 7, 2011


The holiday season is officially over with Three Kings Day, and I cannot recall a cozier or more magical one, which is saying a lot.  I think Maya's presence brought a feeling of contentment and purpose to all we did.  Now that we're all here our true journey begins, and the holidays made this clear.

Of course, the fact that we had a baby in our midst meant there was an excuse to stay home more, to do less and to expect less in terms of pomp and fuss.  And this too made all the difference.  I'm happy to say all the important things happened--a beautiful card to send out, nice food, plenty of friends and family, meaningful gifts, cozy holiday movie watching and book reading, simple crafts and even a quick getaway.  

But above all, warmth and togetherness for the five of us.  Many times during the last weeks I told myself to remember this moment and that, many times I thanked my lucky stars, more than once I got teary-eyed about the happiness in my home.  It's the sign of good times, no?  That and maybe hormones, too.
For the last hoorah of the season the Three Kings brought the girls art supplies (including a ream of paper for each... those smart, practical, wise men!) and we celebrated with my sister and nephews in the afternoon.  CC got the baby in the cake this year, but as always, all the children got small gifts the kings had "left" with me that morning (silver markers and black paper, so fun and chic those kings).  

The most memorable part of the afternoon for me was that in the midst of what was supposed to be the stuff of cherished childhood memories the cousins bickered and fought and managed to spill about $30 in coins on the floor (don't ask!), Sabrina got jealous of CC finding the baby in the cake and stormed away from the table, and a number of expletives were shouted by various small children.  Meanwhile Maya had the longest and most inconsolable crying fit of her short existence after I had put her down once too often to take a picture or cut a piece of cake.  

Then, just as suddenly as mayhem had first started, things calmed down.  Maya latched on and nursed happily, we all exchanged gifts and thanked each other, the children began drawing with their silver pens.  My sister and I sighed and smiled and watched, feeling the magic even more so because for a crazy time we had lost it.   
We had a long art session after dinner so the girls could use their new paints and other art supplies.  They also worked on the project we forgot to get to during our little party, which was painting wooden star-shaped boxes with glow in the dark paint and sprinkling glitter over them.  We talked about the Three Kings and the meaning of Epiphany while the girls worked and once they were done we all snuggled together and watched a few scenes from The Greatest Story Ever Told.  Finally, a few hours after the girls' usual bedtime, we managed to tuck them in for the night.  It was as if none of us wanted the holidays to end.

But since they had to end, it's good that they did this way, with a day that unfolded beautifully on its own--the planned moments not quite shaping up and the unplanned moments turning out to be perfect.  In the end I felt that, just in time for this new year, I had had my own epiphany about acceptance and the true meaning of perfection.