Every Wednesday morning, Rosemary has a gymnastics class. It’s not mommy-and-me, so Anthea and I patiently wait. And by that, I mean I chase her as she scales stairs, tries to beeline for equipment, and generally goes everywhere but the designated play area. Some day, kiddo, you can do gymnastics, too!
We’ve had a rush of warm-weather lately. Each day we’re greeted with blue sky, I take these little spitfires to the park. One day this week, we ended up next to an empty skate park. Rosemary, Anthea, and their friend tore around that place like Tony Hawk, no actual skateboards or equipment required. They slid down every ramp, and were so filthy by the time we left, all I could do was laugh.
Nothing makes them happier than being outside; exploring, giggling, climbing trees, making trouble. Anthea, especially loves water. I filled up our kiddie pool with an inch of water and they played in it until I was sure they couldn’t feel their extremities and coerced them inside with the promise of a snack.
They’ve picked all the dandelions in our backyard, and over-watered every plant we own. They’ve held onto each other and careened down slides, and at the end of many days, have smelled like sweat and spilled grape juice.
All I want to do is remember them this way. The funny things Rosemary says, the way Anthea says “No” when I try to feed her instead of letting her do it herself, the unique way each one feels in my arms (one long and balanced, the other still willing to lay her head against me). I hope they are enjoying it all. My lovely girls, my two little everyday sidekicks.
So often I am caught saying the following: Don’t push! Give that toy back, please! Keep your hands to yourself. Watch out! She’s smaller than you, be careful. Don’t knock her over!
Even good intentions (holding hands while walking, or boosting her up on a slide) can go quickly awry.
But sometimes, there are moments of true tenderness. Rosemary will go bring Anthea the bunny she can’t live without. Anthea will giggle with joy at just seeing her big sister. Rosemary will share her crackers ever so willingly. Sisterly love that shines through all the craziness. And I can only stand back and smile at their sweetness.
Always nice to have help getting a freshly washed cover back on the heaviest carseat ever. Seriously, guys, it’s not a bobsled. And yes that is a saucepan sitting near Anthea’s foot. Apparently that was necessary. 30 mins later, it was all good and back in the car!
Anthea would like to show you her sticks.
Gosh, this kid is funny and amazing. Especially at the park. She loves slides, and is so brave she goes down the big swirly ones all by herself, even. She is just starting to understand how to climb back up to the top on her own, until recently, she tried to go back up the slide, instead if going up the climbing equipment. Seriously, squeal of delight if we are within 10 feet of a slide.
She also loves swings, and will close her eyes and giggle with her whole face.
Puddles are also a park delight.
It’s going to be a good spring.
Rosemary took to the lanes for her first-ever bowling experience today. They even had tot bowling shoes that were only one size too large.
The alley had bumpers that automatically popped up when it was her turn, ramps to roll the balls down, and special little 6-pound balls for kids.
She enjoyed it for a while, but 6 people bowling on a game kinda took a while a boredom set in. Kid bowled a 92!
Anthea’s first coloring project. Previous attempts ended in crayon eating. But this is quite the masterpiece!
Everything is new to Anthea. Even mud puddles. You can walk in them, you can pick up rocks and throw them in, you can even put your face into the puddle, for the full experience.
I remember last year, I walked down our alley with Rosie splashing in puddles. Anthea was asleep in her car seat, a tiny infant who didn’t like the sun on her face or the chilly breeze. What a difference a year makes. A whole personality bloomed from one spring to the next.
I’ve been meaning to write a little bit on how it’s been having two kids so young and so close in age.
Rosemary and Anthea are 18 months apart. And honestly, the first year was crazy. It’s just now that I’m starting to feel a little more in control. For the longest time, every outing with them alone made my heart beat so hard and my hands clammy. It was just stressful and I felt barely in control. Someone would cry while the other one didn’t quite make it to the potty, juice would spill, I’d forget coats or diapers or snacks. Too young to understand danger, Rosemary would run away and not listen when I frantically begged her to come back. Both wouldn’t fit in a shopping cart, and neither would stay. People would gawk, or honk for my parking spot while I was breastfeeding in the front seat.
Not to say some of these issues don’t still happen, but it got easier. I think part of it came from Rosemary getting older and communicating and listening better. Part of it came from Anthea going down easier and sleeping better (magically) at 12 months. And more sleep made me less anxious. And I got the hang of little things. Things that you don’t think of unless you have failed to think of them ten times before.
I got out of the house almost every single day. We went to play dates and parks and gymnastics classes and to see Andrew at work and to meet my mom for lunch and to Target for diapers. Even when it was a challenge, it was fun.
Sometimes I feel guilty for the moments I didn’t enjoy. For the times I spent picking up toys or maybe asking Rosemary a little too harshly (for the third time) to get her shoes. For the holidays where I thought, “Next year, this will be so much easier.”
Other times, I just feel lucky that I’ve kept it together. Fed, clothed (plus, a spare set of clothes for each girl AT ALL TIMES), bathed, diapered, necessities-covered. And I may not have done it perfectly, but I’ve kept the important things at the heart of our life. Getting outside, letting them make a mess in a sandbox in 40-degree weather because the sun’s out, making them laugh, and getting out the paints for Rosemary when I really didn’t want to deal with the inevitable clean-up. Seeing grandparents and keeping up relationships with friends. Reading to them every day, and spending time together as a family, even if we did something simple, like walked in the alley or watched Toy Story 3 for the 200th time.
And oh, how I love them. There is nothing as fulfilling and perfect as the smell of their heads or the sound of two crazy giggling kids. My heart is full, and for them, I would do anything. One thing about having two so close together, is there is no space to consider how fast time moves. I barely recall the nights I spent rocking Rosemary. And what I do remember, I think back on fondly. There seem to be no hours, only moments. And so, in what I do, no matter how small, I try to just enjoy the fleetingness while I can still hold it. Even if I have to set it down, and watch it go, watch it learn to run away.
I’m treated to fantastic dance parties on a regular basis from both kids.
Not to brag, but in a Baby Center email, it said toddlers may start to dance by 18 months old. Anthea got her groove on well before she was a year old, and now she’s moved on to more complicated moves such as spinning and stomping. Next step, moon walk and electric slide.