Thursday, June 17, 2010

...but he was STILL hungry!

These things freak me right out:

They're very reptilian-looking, like those things in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They are chrysalides (yes that's a word, I looked it up. I would've thought it'd be "chrysalii", but what do I know) from which painted lady butterflies will presumably emerge in a couple days. And they're on my counter. Did you know chrysalides can wiggle as a defense mechanism when something bumps them? Charming!

Even though they're gross, they don't freak me out quite as badly as these did:

That's what they looked like before they chrysalide-ified.

And why did I willingly bring things that kind of terrify me into my house? Why because they kind of terrify me, of course.

I really hate and fear most bugs. Especially cockroaches, and especially bees, and especially wall shrimp. And also especially other bugs. And I kind of wish I didn't. It gets irritating, even to me sometimes, and I'm sure it's irritating to other people. I've really been trying NOT to pass this trait down do my girls, so I have tried my best to remain calm around bugs when they're watching (not always successfully) and I've looked for ways to teach Emily about bugs so that she may one day see them as interesting, not horrifying. So when I saw these gross bastards go on sale at Amazon, I decided it might be a fun project.

I sent away for them, and they arrived, all small and motionless. Good, I figured, I can deal with this. But they got bigger fast, and their undulating, swollen mushy bodies began to freak me out right quick. They started to look crowded in their little cup, and I had visions of them getting too big and popping the lid off, exploding out like those snake-in-a-nut-container gags. I put on a brave face as I explained to Emily in a singsong voice that they were storing up energy for when they would turn into a chrysalis, then a butterfly, but underneath I was wondering if my throat would ever heal from all the screaming if one of them ever got out and touched me.

I heaved a sigh of relief when the first one crawled to the top of the cup and started curling up. Phew, now they won't get any bigger. Now they'll be (nearly) motionless for a bit, then (if The Very Hungry Caterpillar is an accurate guide) they'll emerge as beautiful butterflies! Which honestly, I am not all that crazy about either. But butterflies and I have an understanding, as long as they don't land on me with their sticky feet and freaky rolled-up tube mouth thing.

So basically I paid $18 for the chance to grow caterpillars which look exactly like the gypsy moth caterpillars that descend on our area every year and have pretty much eaten every leaf off of every tree by mid-summer. I could've waited a week and then captured some in a jar and Emily could've enjoyed the same educational benefits for free.

But this way I didn't have to touch them.

It was worth every penny.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ok, this has to stop

Or rather, this has to re-start.

I have tried several times to put an end to my blogging hiatus, but I feel like I need to do this big, beautiful catch-up post full of pictures of what I've been doing while I was away. But that takes a long time, and I don't get long amounts of time (with two hands free anyway) to sit at the computer, so my hiatus just keeps getting longer and longer. So I will start posting again, and perhaps do mini catch-ups as I get a chance, just so you don't miss out on the scintillating minutiae of my crazy everyday life these past months. Otherwise my daughters will be in college before I post again.

Said daughters are now 3 years old, and 5 months old! For some reason, the month before a big age milestone tends to hit me harder than the milestone itself. For example, my baby is 5 months old today! Which is almost 6 months old! Which is half a year old! I can't believe it! So now, by the time she actually is 6 months old I will have already spent 1 full month freaking out about the idea, and it won't be such a big deal. I did the same thing when Emily turned 11 months old. It works well.

Charlotte has already cut two teeth, which she uses at every opportunity to bite me. I was really hoping she'd be one of those kids who didn't get their first teeth until around 1 year old. But no, she's an early teether, a loud and miserable teether, and a voracious biter. Help me.

She has also been hoarse for no apparent reason for a week and a half now, and in the last couple days she has added a head cold into the mix. Poor miserable baby.

But the good thing about babies is that there's not any drama yet. True, she is miserable sometimes and definitely acts it, but babies don't lay around moaning just to get attention, and she also has happy moments. Every day she's becoming more of an active participant in family life. Last night, Will and Emily were roughhousing on the couch, much to Charlotte's interest. Every time Will lifted Emily into the air, Charlotte would utter an uncertain "aaaaaah?" Gradually she started to understand that they were playing, and her uncertainty turned into excitement. She wiggled and kicked and echoed each of her sister's delighted squeals with her own (albeit hoarse) versions. I even caught her sitting forward from her carseat the other day so that she could watch the trees go by out the window. Little things like that, things that aren't huge accomplishments or milestones but just tiny indicators that your baby is turning into a person, are some of the most fun things to observe. She loves wind, biting me (Oh God the biting!), and rides in the Bjorn. Today, as I Bjorned her around Costco, she kept both her arms raised in an Eva Peron-like gesture, looking like she was very literally trying to get her arms out far enough to grab the world by the lapels. Well, I hope she does go out and grab the world, just maybe in a few more years. If she grabbed the world right now it would go straight into her mouth just like everything she grabs, and the world can be a dirty place.

My other daughter is alternately a riot and a royal pain. I'm so proud of her and amazed every day, and she also drives me to the brink of insanity with her constant demands (news flash, 3 year olds are demanding! Who would've thought?) She loves dinosaurs and can rattle off even the most complicated names with relative ease (and an adorable lisp). She echoes back everything she hears, today she asked me if I felt that we needed closure. She loves dance class, wandering around outside while shouting gibberish, collecting and then lining up like objects, and acting out stories with her toys. But she never pretends to be anything herself, except for a princess, and she treats that more as a fact than as something she's pretending to be. If asked "Are you pretending to be a kitty cat?" (or a doggie, or whatever) she will immediately and confidently say "No, I'm just a big girl Emily". The girl has a strong sense of who she is. I hope she is able to hold onto that and always remain as proud to be a big girl Emily as she is now.

She has made friends with the 4 year old girl across the street who has a big trampoline (Score! Now we won't ever have to put one of those behemoths in our own backyard!) and begs daily to go out and play with "Dasmind". Jazmin, Dasmind, it's all cool when you're 3. I am very happy that she has a friend right across the street, but I'll be even happier about it when she's old enough to go over to her house by herself (or for them to play in our backyard while I'm in the house). It's valuable socialization, entertainment, and exercise for Emily that I don't have to drive her anywhere to get, but it also requires that I stand outside for an hour or so in the evenings and that really bites into what I can get done around the house. It sounds terrible to say, I know, and don't worry; I dutifully strap the baby onto my chest and head out with Emily every time there's a Jazmin sighting out the front window, but I have so little time as it is to do anything productive, and my house is definitely showing it. I really wish I could just be in the moment and enjoy my kids without freaking out in the back of my head every minute about what is not getting done. The kids are only young once, the house can wait...the kids are only young once, the house can wait...

Anyway, speaking of me (we were, weren't we?), look at my new car!

Hello Gorgeous!

Is that Mystic Teal Mica you're wearing?

It goes so well with your elegant light gray interior

Please excuse my lame attempts to cover my license plate. As far as I'm concerned, any kind of photo editing that goes beyond the scope of Microsoft Paint just uses magic. Magic that I don't have. So I have to physically mess with my photos before taking them instead of using a computer afterward. I like to think of myself as the George Lucas of photography. Well, the George Lucas who did the first 3 Star Wars movies anyway. Good Lord, am I still talking?

Yes, I got my minivan, and yes, I totally love it. It's true, there was a time not so long ago when I made the sign of the horns and spat on the ground at the idea of ever driving a minivan, but that was mostly because I was forced to drive a minivan to school at age 16 and it was hideously embarrassing. Besides, look at the above pictures. This one is totally sexy.

And now, I will close, because remember the part about how I don't have time for super-long posts? I really don't. This post has taken me days to write, which is defeating the purpose of just getting back into the swing of things, so it's best for everyone if I just shut up and hit publish already. I will be writing more very soon, I promise.