Monday, January 30, 2012


I thought we'd talk about Samaya's current favorite toys. They generally fall into two categories: 

1. Things scavenged in the recycle
2. My stuff

Examples of the former: assorted empty bottles (a collection of these in a basket occupied much of her awake time for a number of months)
Examples of the latter: underwear (did I ever show you the picture of her lower torso layered with every pair I own? oh that's right. and I never will.), scarves, tea bags, jewelry, kitchen implements 

Today's play largely revolved around an empty deodorant container, which I so generously offered to her this morning. ('For me? Oh, thank you Mommy!') A few minutes later I see her strut, very nakedly, to the middle of the living room. Her left hand is on her hip- a dead giveaway that some very important business is taking place. She sees me and informs me that she's taking a shower. I watch her (out of the corner of my eye, of course. A girl needs her privacy.) She turns on the water, washes her body and hair, then dries off with a towel. Next she goes over to her play kitchen (ie. bathroom counter) where a line-up of empty bottles now stands. She selects the newly acquired roll-on deodorant and applies it to each of her arm pits. Next, she selects the empty cinnamon container...and applies that to her pits. Then comes the oregano, followed by the vitamin bottle, and finally a sea salt container. 

'That's a lot of deodorant,' I comment. 
'Yeah. I a big girl, now,' she states importantly. 
I'm pretty sure she has just implied that I, also being a big girl, stink. I choose to ignore this. Instead, I help her get back into her tutu. That's what big girls wear, you know. 

P.S. Her resourcefulness is deliberately cultivated through lots of carefully structured unstructured time and a minimum of 'stuff.' Also, a large part of a child's play is the imitation of their parents' work. We take full advantage of this and have cleaner floors, more baked goods, and obviously fresher arm pits as a result.

P.P.S. The cinnamon bottle later got filled with water and sprinkled on the carpet for a more realistic effect. This may have been after the fourth removal of clothes (yay for practice in dressing and undressing!) The play was at this point structured. As in take it to the bathtub. now.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Killing you with cute

I walked around the house after the girls went to sleep, capturing the remnants of Samaya's evening. 


'The stash'...

where all things non-Violet go.

Ayyam-i-Ha present,


31 months, baby. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Violet, sort of.

So my little three-toothed toddling ball of fire (I mean that in the nicest way possible, of course. Please don't hurt me. again.) We find ourselves at 11 months old tomorrow.  That's 11 months outside of me. 11 months of growing, or to put it more accurately, GROWING.
You, my sweet child, are ridiculously large. We're not just talking about the buddha belly your sister sports (which is so obvious even to herself that she has been telling me the baby in her belly is named 'Bimbi.') No, we're talking 2 1/2 neck rolls, segmented arms, ankles (ankles!) that I cannot begin to get a hand around, and bigger breasts than I had in 8th grade. Speaking of breasts, my own wondrous pair take full credit for each and every one of those rolls. And they could not be more proud. Battered and war-torn, yes. But proud, nonetheless.
You see, you are one of those babies. You know- the babies that refuse to be babied. You do not tolerate crawling. You have no interest in passively observing as an older sister takes your toy. And you have no use for baby food, nor does it make any difference to you whether it is called puree, mush, mash, or blended-form-of-whatever-we're-eating. You do however make mealtimes fearful and violent if you do not have EXACTLY what is on our own plates. And don't even try swapping that fork for a spoon. Not gonna happen. Pair this with your sparsely populated mouth and amazing ability to spit something out before it has even entered, and you get half a chickpea, the juice from an orange wedge, and possibly a sweet potato fry for dinner. Breakfast and lunch are usually not worth my effort. (Should I be admitting this?)
Last week when you were a two-toothed ball of fire, dinner was avocado oozed through fingers and splatter painted in a 15-foot radius. I mean, maybe you get some sort of sick nourishment from your artistic masterpieces, but it's probably just the milk. Here you were thinking this was about you and your 11-month achievements (so did I!) I'll blame it on Annie over at Motherhood and More who just wrote a tremendous ode to her A-cups, and obviously caused me to get so off track. But now that it's too late to go back: seriously- how completely awesome is it that I grew two babies from my chest?! I'm just saying.
Thank you. I'm just saying thank you. To the mothers who served as my examples while growing up, never knowing that by nourishing their own babies they were also nourishing mine. To my own mother, who nursed me and my sister for well over two years each. And to the God that granted me this one small service. The one thing I can give to my children that is, without a doubt, absolutely perfect.     

Sunday, January 1, 2012

On being very big and very small

I thought the volatility of childhood arose closer to puberty and somewhat less close to the age of two. Yet, here I am wondering how it is that one so small can place a hand on her hip just so and strut importantly away, while the next moment can bring her screaming back to me, hands pressed to ears, wailing about the 'boom, boom!' that can be heard from the floor above.

At least a handful of times a day I think to myself, 'Does she even need me anymore? I don't think she needs me anymore.'

And at least a handful of times a day I think to myself, 'Oh the neediness! Oh the massive, limitless expanse of her needs!'

Which can sometimes translate to, 'How very tiny and vulnerable you are in this wild and unwieldy world. Please God give me the capacity to protect you and give you everything you need to own it. and love it.'
And can sometimes (very, very rarely of course) translate to, 'Seriously!? How many times a day do I have to tell you that they are your NEIGHBORS. And they live UPSTAIRS. And they have feet that walk and make SOUND.'

We spent the past week at Green Acre Baha'i School semi-attending the annual winter school. It's lovely- old friends and new coming together to love and laugh and have deep, intelligent, real conversations about how to grow spiritually, thereby uplifting their relationships, thereby uplifting their communities, thereby uplifting some piece of the world- however small or large it may be.

It just so happens that my current responsibility in the upliftment department is to keep two human beings--complete with bodies, minds, and souls--alive. One might even add thriving. It's a lot, considering that you somehow have to keep your own body, mind, and soul alive as well. It's slightly more than a lot, if you yourself happen to be interested in thriving.

Anyway, my point here is that by 'semi-attending' winter school, what I meant was that I managed to feed us all and sometimes smile or even say 'hi' to people in route to the potty, nursery, or AHH THERE GOES THE BABY UP THE STAIRS AGAIN!

Samaya on the other hand owned it. I spent most of the time in the 'she doesn't need me anymore' category, watching from afar as she paraded around the place with her friend Becca. She ate meals with me, but only because it was enforced with a tightened seat belt. The rest of the time they stole people's coats and made forts under tables. They walked imaginary cats down the hallways. They made countless cups of tea and served each other plastic fries. And they quite blatantly pretended that their parents did not exist. You might think this made my life easier, but anyone who owns one knows that two can be a very dangerous thing.

On the last day after lunch, the girls had been going up the stairs to where the guests' rooms and the room of Abdu'l-Baha are. I had called them back at least a million times, and after Becca told me that they needed 'to pray' I finally gave up, Violet and I slowly making our way up after them. By the time we reached the third floor, screaming could be heard in the vicinity of Abdu'l-Baha's room. My first thought was that they were inside, fighting over prayer books and causing a scene while people were attempting to pray. Slightly mortified, I scooped up Violet and ran to the door--but it didn't sound like they were in there. I couldn't find her in any of the neighboring rooms either, and now Samaya was hysterical. Someone walking by started looking as well, and found them inside a room,  inside a closet. The girls had gone in, closed the door behind them, and found themselves trapped with no latch on the inside to let themselves out. When we opened the door, there was my daughter borderline hyperventillating and there was Becca. perfectly composed and unfazed. (I'm not sure how to even comment on this.)

I did my best to comfort them. I acknowledged how scary that must have felt. I held Samaya for a while. And then I of course stressed the importance of obedience and staying near our mommies and daddies in case help is needed. I got a promise out of both of them that they would ask permission next time and go upstairs only with a parent, and then we went back downstairs. The end.

Except it hasn't ended. Over breakfast, she tells me, 'Mommy, I got stuck.' Over crayons, she tells me, 'Mommy, member I got stuck?' She tells her father, 'Daddy, daddy! I got stuck at Geeker! (Green Acre)' And completely understandably. You try being two and getting locked in a dark closet with no way out. Being two was hard enough.

And here is where I am needed again. and again. again.