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What’s New: Reacquainted with the Sunrise

imageThere’s a wiggle and a whine, but in my sleepy state it doesn’t register at first. Another, and without opening my eyes, I respond with an offer to nurse. Denied. The wiggling continues, and the whining gets louder as I finally open one eye to check the time. Five am. Can it be? Awake already? I make my offer one last time, then shine a light on my sweet boy’s face to see that his eyes are indeed wide open. As he catches my eye, his whining turns to a giggle. I scoop him up and downstairs, quietly we creep. On the couch, we chat and play and, just like that, I realize that the early hours of the morning aren’t so bad after all. He stretches his legs while I read, I take him into the kitchen to make coffee with me, he finally settles in to nurse, and soon it’s naptime. I savor just a few quiet moments alone with my cup before hearing the sound of a door thrust open, and a voice at the top of the stairs calling cheerfully, “Mo-om, it’s morning!”

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Thanksgiving prep: we wrote the things we were thankful for on leaves and strung them to hang in the dining room.

I love those little declarations of hers, too, and the way she asks questions she already knows the answer to. She speaks with such enthusiasm all the time. “It’s morning!” “Dad, TELL ME what you’re doing, dad!” “Mom, I’m awake!” She’s intense, all the time, and while it’s definitely a challenge at times, it brings so much joy into our house at others. There’s drama in every word, and her imagination never stops.

She still pretends to be other people constantly, to the point that I’m not sure what to call her at any given moment and, on her particularly emotional days, find myself asking what name I should use before I address her, just to be sensitive. For some time now, she has been insistent about the idea that she is not a girl, but a boy, seeming truly offended when others refer to her as a girl. She’s so serious about this that we can’t quite tell if it’s strictly play, or if she’ll always be a gender creative child. We try to treat it just as seriously as she does, knowing that she’s a bit young to be bothered with gender identity anyway.

I completely forgot to get a photo of our Thanksgiving table, but I did capture this picture of the artful arrangement Annabelle made while we were preparing it. She was quite deliberate about the placement of every object.

Her play has mostly consisted of gathering every single item from one room or another into a single place, and arranging them artfully while giving each one an identity. This morning, all of her pencils were daddy, and she spent quite some time lining them all up on the table and then balancing them carefully into a much too small cup. After breakfast, she found a paper bag and went shopping for books, emptying her book basket one title at a time into the bag before taking everything else off her living room shelf as well. I’m taking this as a sign that it’s time to replace some of the things we have out with open ended objects instead of closed activities, so today we’ll go walking to collect pinecones and bake them in the oven on a low heat, as I hear this melts away the sap. I’m excited to poke around this evening and see what else I can find.

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Annabelle making her brother laugh while I finish making dinner. She was popping up from below the stroller and he found it quite hilarious.

Elliot slept right through his first Thanksgiving feast, but in general has been spending a good bit of time awake. He is starting to hold onto objects for extended periods and loves to feel everything within reach, trying to bring most things to his mouth. While we usually avoid plastic toys, I recently got him a little rattle ball after seeing how much a friend’s baby loves hers. We’ve been hanging it from his toy arch this week using elastic, and he loves to pull on and play with it. It is seems to be the easiest of his toys to grasp at this stage and therefore to be among his favorites. Really, though, he’s usually content to feel the fabric of the nearest person’s clothing, to inspect the blanket he’s resting on, or to play with a spoon while we’re all sitting down to eat. So long as he’s dry and fed, he tends to be quite content.

A week or two ago, we heard his first belly laughs, but this week he started laughing spontaneously and often. My favorite is when Annabelle talks to him, or counts his toes and he laughs and laughs at the sight of her. His smiles seem to get wider and more genuine all the time, too. He makes our lives so much brighter, and I’m happier every day that he joined our family. Fortunately Annabelle seems to genuinely enjoy his presence more and more all the time, too. It was such an adjustment for her, but every day I see her warming up to him even more.

Annabelle made sure none of the pumpkin pie filling went to waste.

Thanksgiving turned out to be such a lovely day. It seems that every year I forget several small things we need from the store until the night before or day of Thanksgiving. Sometimes I remember a few things the night before, and then one or two more the morning of. No matter how much time I spend preparing, dinner seems to be finished at least an hour later than planned, and I generally spend the day feeling rather harried until we finally settle in to eat. This year, I tried to prevent this situation by making a master list of every dish I make and all of the ingredients I need to make them, a week ahead of time. We managed to get everything on our regular weekend shopping trip and with Annabelle’s (and Andrew’s) help, I had all of the food ready an hour early on Thanksgiving day. It was so nice to actually relax and enjoy the preparations as well as the food, spending time together throughout. It has been such a big year for us and the holiday was a wonderful time to reflect on all of the good thing it has brought us. I have been distracted often over the past several months by how much I miss our simple life on Guam, but there is so much to be thankful for her here and it’s helpful to reflect on that.

If you celebrated, how was your Thanksgiving? What else have you been up to this week? I’d love for you to link up with a post of your own!

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We had a gorgeous weather day Thanksgiving weekend and enjoyed some time relaxing in the grass with leaves. The leaves are mostly gone and the grass brown already, so I’m pleased we had this last hurrah.



8 Responses to What’s New: Reacquainted with the Sunrise

  • Love the title of this post! I bet it is hard to put down that camera with those two beautiful children in your presence:) Great job getting Thanksgiving dinner done early. I always forget things even after multiple trips to the store. I easily get distracted with coupons in my purse and forget the real reason I was there. We went to my parents house for Thanksgiving this year. I was just in charge of baking the desserts. I still managed to forget making the Peach Cobbler. Luckily I was forgiven when Sunday came around and we took it over there to eat Sunday dinner (Thanksgiving leftovers:)

    Belly laughs are contagious!!

    Thank you for sharing.

    • melissa says:

      I’m glad I’m not alone in my frequent trips BACK to the store! ;) It sounds like saving the peach cobbler for the second feast worked out in everyone’s favor. Peach cobbler is delicious!

  • MrsWJAA says:

    From someone who is near and dear to a transgender individual, I give you much thanks for your respectfulness to A’s gender play… from personal stories, I know that it means a lot to be accepted and treated as you see yourself, and not how others see you (I’m sure this goes for all of the characters she chooses to be from time to time).

    I’m sure that with your respectful parenting style, this is just a natural extension of that, but I have seen a person in a local store tell their 3-4 yo son he could pick out whichever toy he wanted (didn’t state any limitations at that time), and when he picked up a kitchen play set (that was ‘girl’ colors) said, you can’t have that, you’re a boy, and that is for girls.. I just don’t get that kind of parenting.. what difference does it truely make if the toy is pink or blue?? as long as s/he likes it..

    • melissa says:

      Thank you for the encouraging comment. It’s really disheartening to see children limited in what and how they can play based on gender. Exploring all sorts of roles is so beneficial!

  • Amy says:

    I love first baby, belly laughs! What a wonderful time! And, Q-ball was an early raiser- we are just now making it to 8 AM on a few days, so I can understand the joys of early mornings with a mix of exhaustion. Also, glad to see a picture on a Montessori blog where all items are not perfectly placed. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one!
    Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, but always work leading up to it! Maybe that’s what makes it so rewarding?

    • melissa says:

      Oh, 8am sounds lovely right now! I am truly enjoying the sunrises, but then I’m so tired by evening.

      You would probably feel even more relief if I snapped a picture of my outrageously messy office for you! ;) Keeping an always orderly classroom environment and an orderly home are two very different things. I fooled myself into thinking for a bit that my training would teach me to keep my house nice and tidy … nope!

  • Rach says:

    That’s interesting about the gender play – mind you B goes around being the number 4 quite a lot…I have heard someone say they knew they were gay when they were 3…seems surprising. I’m sure I didn’t know I was anything until I was around 10! Elliott is so big and cuddly looking now, and looking so happy as always. How great to see them playing. I love A’s re-arranging – the pom pom on the bus roof is funny. Early mornings can be beautiful, it’s true. Somehow that baking photo of A seems like a glimpse into what she will look like when she is a woman. Wow.

    • melissa says:

      I definitely don’t remember giving any thought to my own gender or orientation at a young age, but then there’s probably not much to think about when you fit the societal mold, I guess. I have heard the same thing from others, though, they they knew they were one way or the other quite early on. I suppose we’ll see how this trying out of different roles develops. The number 4 is a good one!

      At one point, she had a pom pom on the roof of each of her cars and she called me in to show me all of them, declaring that they were “from Mexico!” We had seen a car with a Mexican flag on it several days before and she found this very interesting.

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