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Late Night With Norah Fending

Norah just might be ready to give up her nap. Lately it seems like whenever she sleeps late in the morning or on the rare occasions when she does take a nap, she can't sleep at night. Two nights last week she was up till nearly 11, just reading quietly in her room and singing songs to her stuffed animals, and it's now 10:15 and she's still going strong (Brian tucked her into bed at 8:00).

She only just started to complain a little bit, and when Brian went up to her she said, "I was reading Curious George and my flashlight just went out and I was nursing Dolly. She took a couple of ounces." So Brian put new batteries in her flashlight, and she's still up there, happy as a clam. I think we have a night owl on our hands.

Norah's Birthday: Part I

Norah's birthday isn't till Friday, but she had her "friend party" yesterday morning. She's never had a birthday party with just her friends before, so she was terribly excited. We had the party at B Is for Books, the little children's bookstore where Norah and I love to go for storytime and where I have my book club. The party had an Olivia theme, so the kids listened to an Olivia Christmas story (this was probably Norah's favorite part of the whole party).




They made paper bag Olivia puppets...

Played Olivia bingo and duck-duck-goose...

And Norah and Aurora had a blast playing Balloon Party, a game they invented with the Olivia balloons and that Norah was still playing today.

Then there was pizza, and cake, and lots of presents to open.

And some very tired children were sad to have to go home.

It was a good party.

Little mama

I just came downstairs from putting Liam down for his morning nap to find Norah in the kitchen, crouched over her little doll cradle (the one that used to be mine) singing Baa Baa Black Sheep to Dino and petting him gently. "I'm putting Dino down for an early nap," she said when she turned around and saw me. Then she sang Summertime. Sweet little girl.

My big girl

We started with Winnie the Pooh stories, a couple of weeks ago--Norah fell in love with them, even though they're long and wordy and have hardly any pictures. She is constantly asking us to read them, and she will sit through at least one, sometimes two. And over the weekend Brian got out Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, which has full-length chapters and very nearly no pictures at all, and Norah is enthralled. She wants to listen to story after story, and she sits rapt through at least one. I can't help thinking this is pretty impressive for a little girl who's just turning 3 this week.

Christmas Time Is Here...

We haven't gotten our tree yet, but we got the house decorated for Christmas today. There is little that will put you in the spirit as much as the way Norah loves Christmas. She was just so excited over everything I pulled out of the storage bin, and when she came down from her nap to see what more I had done, she was just bursting. She had to pore over the four Santa mugs to see what Santa was doing on each one, and she instantly adopted all the little random Christmas stuffed animals that have accumulated as "her Christmas guys." (As opposed to her "regliar guys.") There's Boy Bear and Girl Bear and Christmas Puppy and Christmas Penguin, and she was just bursting when I said she could take her nap with them.

Brian and I were busy in the kitchen at one point when Norah came in carrying one of the many Christmas books we keep stored away during the rest of the year. Scared and a little quiet, she said, "I'm scared this book is going to talk to me."

To my credit, I did not laugh.

On the book's cover is a close-up of (an admittedly creepy, kind of leering) Santa. And it totally freaked her out. She is scared of a lot of things right now--a particular sketch on Sesame Street where the guest star gets a little too animated, the intro music to Iron Chef, slightly intense commercials I fail to fast-forward right away (and we're talking car commercials, not horror movies)--and I definitely don't want her becoming afraid of Santa. So we talked about how he is the nicest, kindest man in the world, and how this particular artist just didn't draw a very good picture of Santa, and then we threw the book away (not a good one anyway) and got out lots of other pictures of Santa.

Tonight when I was putting her to bed she brought it up again. We were reading a different Christmas book, and she looked at the single picture of Santa and said, "He's got a friendly kind of a smile." We agreed that this was a much better picture, and that he had kind eyes, and I told her that Santa would bring her a new Christmas book this year, like he does every year.

"Is he going to come in my room?" she asked, sounding worried.

"Nope. He'll just put the presents under the tree and leave. He won't go anywhere near your room."

"And a bad witch won't come in my room either?"

Oh dear. I am catching a glimpse of the next few years.

12 Weeks

Liam is 12 weeks old today! This is exciting stuff--as of today, he's not a newborn anymore. It shows, too--he's not that snuffly little blob we brought home from the hospital not quite 3 months ago. He's funny, and smiley, and he loves to watch his big sister. They are fascinated with each other--he could watch her jump around and play for hours, and she is wonderful with him, very gentle and concerned about him, interested in his moods and ready to share even her most special guys. She fetches his binky when he cries and loves to help me sing to him (though she was scandalized when I sang "Twinkle Twinkle" to him one afternoon because "that's a nighttime song!").

Our days are starting to feel a little more normal. Liam's not on too much of a schedule yet, but he wakes up at a very respectable 7:30 or 8 every morning, and he can more or less be counted on to take a nap a couple of hours after that (still in his swing, but at least it's up in his bedroom...). From then on things are a little dicier--I am not very good at putting babies down to sleep, and neither is Brian, and neither is Yvonne...we all just love to snuggle them up, and this little stretch of time feels so fleeting, so he's not on a good nap schedule yet like some of my friends' babies. But we'll get there. I don't want to jinx anything, but at 8:00 tonight we actually had both kids in bed, for the first time ever at that hour. Hallelujah!

My days feel so much easier now that Liam is more aware, too. He is happy just to sit in his little bouncy seat and hang out with us, so I can actually get a few things done around the house again. Folding laundry, making dinner, reading Winnie the Pooh stories to Norah (her new absolute favorite--she can sit through at least one story, and they are long, with hardly any pictures)--all of it's interesting to Liam. He just wants to be included. Such a fun little guy.

My kids

It's been almost 10 weeks now since we brought Liam home from the hospital, and those of you who met him as a newborn wouldn't even recognize him now. He has grown so much...he's lost that just-born look and is becoming a baby. He's so much more aware now, it's wonderful. He loves to play in his little play gym, or lie on the couch and stare at the brown polka-dotted throw pillow. And he is very free with his smiles--sometimes all you have to do is look at him and he lights up with an adorable grin, corners of his mouth spread wide. A couple of mornings ago I went into his room and pulled up the shades and unswaddled him, and he was so happy to see me and start his day, he gave me such a huge smile.

He is making a lot more coos and noises lately, too. He loves to have little conversations, where we say "Oh" and he says "Oh" back, and we've noticed in the last couple of days that he will modulate his noises to mimic ours.

Liam in his play gym

Liam's debut on the playmat - even some smiles for the camera!

Dino Got Cold

[Going up to get Norah up this morning; she's been up for a while playing in her room.]

"Norah, why are you naked except for your pullup?"

"Dino got cold. So I took off my froggie pajamas and wrapped him up in them."

"Oh. So aren't *you* cold now?"

"I'm a little chilly. Let's get dressed!"


No visitors allowed

First a little backstory: Norah is obsessed with shutting the doors to all the rooms upstairs. This can be irritating, because she's not so good at opening doors, so she can get stuck in a room over and over again, or lock Reba into our bedroom, or just make the upstairs hallway very dark. So the other day, she went into her room and shut the door, saying very firmly, "No visitors allowed."

(This is from the children's book A Visitor for Bear, which I highly recommend.)

So she and I have been joking back and forth lately about "No visitors allowed." The other afternoon we were being goofy, and I caught her picking her nose for about the millionth time that day. Instead of yelling at her again, I said, "No visitors your nose!" This cracked her up, of course, and it's been our watchword ever since.

So tonight after trick-or-treating (pictures and lots more story to follow soon, I promise), I was putting her to bed and she was picking her nose, so I said, "No visitors allowed!" It got to be sort of a game (unfortunately), with her picking and me saying my line. Pick pick. "No visitors allowed!" Pick pick. "No visitors allowed!" And then Norah got the last word by saying, "My finger was just going trick-or-treating."

Too funny, that little girl.

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