One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

As Frankie gets older, we have started to have a bit more regularity to our days. Joerg usually gets up first, followed closely by Annika. They have breakfast together, while Frankie and I grab a few last minutes of precious sleep. Then Joerg heads for work and Anni, Frankie, and I have some play time upstairs. Often, Annika enjoys taking a shower with me while Frankie watches us through the glass shower door as she sits in her beloved "bouncy seat." Anni likes to bring her dolls into the shower, and she sits on the floor of the shower cleaning them until it is her turn to get all clean. She usually gets a bit tired of me scrubbing on her face with the washcloth, so she'll declare, "That's *enough*, Mom!" At about 9:30 or 10:00, it's time for Frankie's big morning nap, so she'll go to sleep for 2-3 hours. That's when mommy and Anni get to have some fun together, painting, playing in a rice sandbox or with shaving cream, playing dress-up or taking care of her dolls. I've posted a new video clip to the website showing Anni painting. She has on her "paint shirt," which is really just one of mommy's old t-shirt. Also, her hair is an adorable mess. She's been waking up lately with her hair in just a mass of tangles, but they are so cute. Also, this video clip features the lovely sound of Anni's mischievous laugh at the end. We had a lot of fun on this day. I'm only going to leave the video clip on this site for a few days, as it is so large that I'll need to delete to keep from taking up more than my fair share of space on the server. So if you'd like to see it, you should download soon! Annika now understands the power of praise, and how good it makes you feel. This morning, as Joerg prepared his usual morning egg and oatmeal, Anni looked at him and said, "Good job making your own breakfast, daddy!" His bowl of berries spilled a bit on the table, though, and Anni definitely noticed it. When I came down to have breakfast a bit later in the morning, Anni drew my attention to the stain on the table right away and intoned, "Uh-oh, Daddy drew on the table..." I think she was fully expecting him to get into trouble when he got home that night!

Sunday, January 18, 2004

As usual, our girls have been quite amusing lately. Annika has been picking up phrases from lots of different sources, and it always surprises me when she trys one out on me. For instance, Annika always resists going to bed, and one afternoon it was perfectly clear that she needed a nap, but she kept wiggling away when I tried to get her to her bedroom. Finally, I said in a very very serious voice, "Annika, come here *NOW*!" She looked at me with an honestly curious look on her face and asked me, "Mom, are you a grumpy old troll?" The arrival of Frankie has definitely sparked an interest in baby dolls in Annika. She enjoys diapering, feeding, dressing, and undressing her baby doll Betsy, even carrying it around in her own little mini-sling like I carry Frankie around the house during the day. However, she always insisted that her doll ride in a "car seat" when we went anywhere in the car. The "car seat" was really a plastic bin from her play room. So every time we headed for the car, Anni would run upstairs and empty the contents of one of the bins onto the floor and bring it downstairs for use as a car seat. Needless to say, this caused a great mess, and so I decided to buy her a toy car seat for her dolls. So we cleaned up the play room, putting the toys back into their proper bins, and headed out to find a car seat. Anni picked out a lovely pink one, and her doll rode happily buckled in between Annika and Frankie. When we got home, Anni took the car seat and her dolly upstairs to play. After 5 minutes or so, I heard the familiar crash of toys hitting the floor as Annika once again emptied the contents of a bin onto the floor. I rushed upstairs, thinking, "What's going on here? She *has* a car seat now!" When I peeked into the room, there was Annika, surrounded by her mess. Betsy the doll was naked in the bin. Anni explained to me, "She's dirty. She has to have a bath!" Aaaaaarrrrgggghhh! Frankie made me giggle a bit tonight. I had just fed her and given her her vitamin when Joerg and I decided to head upstairs to bed. I asked him to hold her "just for a second" while I went and turned on the dishwasher. I handed over a calm and happy baby, and headed for the kitchen. Almost on cue, she looked him in the eye and threw up all over him, never altering her placid expression as sour-smelling milk spewed from her mouth and nose. I swear she grinned at me as I brought over the towels to help dry him off! One final story: we try to watch Anni's diet, as she's at risk for all sorts of other health problems. So when she asked her daddy for a cookie, he said, "Not until you've eaten some *real* food." Anni had no problem with that at all and she told him, "OK, I want a *real* cookie!"

Monday, January 12, 2004

We were very disappointed to have to cancel our Kansas City trip for Christmas, but we did manage to make a day trip up to Rockford to visit our friends, the Martins, who have 2 daughters, Riley and Shelby. Shelby is currently waiting for a liver transplant at Children's in Chicago (these are the same girls who came to visit us over the summer). As usual, Anni had a fantastic time playing with them. Riley and Annika had a great time hiding out under Riley's "bed tent" (she has a sort of a tent-like structure over her twin bed), and playing dress-up with her extensive collection of necklaces, gloves, shoes, and hats. Anni also discovered the joy of Barbies at their house, as they have a very large collection. Shelby, the younger girl, was fascinated with Frankie, and played a very funny game with her in which she ran from one side of the room over to where Frankie lay kicking on the floor. She would stop on the way to stand on top of a book (???kids!), and then run the rest of the way over, and bend down and kiss Frankie on top of the head. Frankie would let out a little squeal of delight, and then the game would start all over again. I took a lot of pictures of this trip (hooray for my digital camera!), and have them posted. I also have made several more little "movies" and will post them as soon as I can get them compressed. Anni has been very healthy recently, and we're enjoying it! She's back on her 4 times a day antibiotic to counteract the effect of the antibiotics she took to get over her monster ear infection/sinus infection. However, we should finish up those antibiotics in another couple of weeks. We've been experimenting with no nap during the day or only a very short "rest", as she has been having a lot of trouble going to sleep at night if she takes her full 2 hour nap during the day. I think she's beginning to outgrow naptime, but the transition is very hard! Meanwhile, she's been enjoying lots of pretend games lately. She's been playing doctor with Baloo (from the Jungle Book), a big stuffed bear that her Grandpa Bond got her. For some reason, Baloo is *always* the patient. She'll come to me and announce, "Oh dear, Baloo has a fever! We have to take him to the doctor." Then she'll get out all her medical equipment: a play blood-pressure cuff, play otoscope, play shot, and a real stethoscope (left-over from the hospital days). She checks his blood pressure, looks in his ears, looks in his mouth (usually using an empty pen barrel, which doubles as a medicine syringe in her games), feels his tummy, brushes his teeth (yes, brushing teeth has somehow become part of the game. Again, ????kids!). She also enjoys "changing his diaper." Yesterday, she told me, "Uh-oh. Baloo's diaper is kind of poopy. He needs a fresh diaper." And then she ran to the room and grabbed a diaper for him. There were no wipes out (I learned long ago that if I left wipes out that she would have them scattered everywhere in no time), and she had a look of real consternation trying to figure out what she was going to use to wipe him with. She looked around the room, and then brightened when she spotted her "Shelby" doll (yes, it appears that she named her favorite doll after her little friend Shelby in Rockford). She ran over to her and took off the doll's shirt, and then used that to wipe Baloo's bottom. She then proceeded to take a rectal temperature on Baloo using the handle of a dolly tennis racket. She also has been enjoying playing "blood draw" with me in the morning. She does a very good job, even using her index finger to gently feel around for my vein before "inserting" her pretend needle. She actually really enjoys her blood draws, as the lab workers always ooh and aah over her, and give her stickers afterwards. She has been known to announce, out of the clear blue, "I need a blood draw!" I.V.'s, on the other hand, she still detests. However, they have become a part of her life. As I've mentioned before, I sometimes give her a book and have her "read" it to me. Recently, she was reading a book to me before bed when she included as part of the story, "And she has to get an I.V." This really surprised me, but it was true that the girl went to the hospital later on in the story (it was a book about a girl getting a liver transplant), and so I told her that, yes, the girl probably did get an I.V. I was wondering where she got this idea, though, as there was no mention of an I.V. in the story, and Anni wasn't even at the place where she went to the hospital (she was on the page where she was playing outside with a friend). I didn't think any more of this, until a few days later when I was reading the story to her. Right on that page was a mention of "poison ivy", and suddenly it all made sense!