I don't know what it is about a pair of toddler jeans, but the minute you put them on your baby, that baby starts looking like a 13-year old.
You know, if your 13-year old still wandered around, chewing on her pacifier, I guess...
(LOOKIT!!! LITTLE BLONDE BABY CURLS!!!!)
When we pick Brigid up from school, Caitlin insists on holding her hand as we walk to the car. And then when I'm getting them buckled into their seats, she fusses at Brigid, until Brigid holds her hand in the car, too. These two, man. I hope they always love and enjoy each other as much as they do right now.
Last weekend, Brigid managed to guilt Steve into taking the whole family apple picking on Sunday by telling him that she was sad he had spent all day Saturday watching football. And that would have been decent manipulation on her part...except for the part where it wasn't true. In fact, we spent a significant chunk of that Saturday all together on a boat, before taking her to lunch at Waffle House, which has somehow become her first choice anytime we ask her where she wants to eat. Then she got to play with her friends in the neighborhood for a short period of time, and only THEN did we make her watch the Notre Dame game for a little bit before she had to go to bed.
All of which to say...her powers of manipulation are formidable, and I am frightened for my future.
Anyway. Apple picking.
The funny thing about apple picking is that even though it's the season for the good apples, the apple farm won't let you pick the good apples yourself, choosing to (I guess?) release their own professional pickers on the good trees, so they can sell them to you for maybe a little bit more money in the apple farm general store. So, while we did the following things on Sunday:
* Bought apple fritters. (I ate almost an entire fritter by myself when we first got there, and when Steve asked for a bite later, I laughed at him. It's like he doesn't even know me after all of this time.) (He had to go buy his own. I do not leave apple fritter behind.)
* Bought cider donuts.
* Bought apple bread. (Which, uh, I also ate by myself. But it was over the course of several days. So...it doesn't count?)
* Bought kettle corn. (There IS still some of that left. I'm not completely out of control.)
* Raced a pig. (We went to watch the pig races, and Brigid was handed a card that marked her as one of the pig race participants. She was assigned Hamgelina Jolie as her racing pig, and there was a gold trophy at stake for the winner. Unfortunately, Hamgelina lost out to Lyndsay Loham, so Brigid had to settle for a ribbon. I told her I liked the ribbon better, and she agreed, but I was lying. I really wanted that pig trophy.) (The other pig race participants were Brad Pig and Britney Spareribs. Har, har har.)
* Went down a big slide. (Just Brigid)
* Jumped on a big trampoline. (Again...Brigid)
* Admired a moonshine still. (This was what Caitlin and I were doing while Brigid was on the trampoline. I wasn't taking any chances with C trying to climb up there with her.)
* MILKED A FREAKING COW! (I am still a little shocked Brigid did this. You could not have paid me to get close to that cow. Also, she said the udder felt like poop. I didn't ask her to elaborate.)
Oh. And...we bought some apples. We wanted the good apples, they brought a freshly picked (I don't know...maybe?) batch in while we were in the general store, so we just decided to take those home with us. We did not pick a single apple on our apple picking trip.
Of course, we then went home and put up some Halloween decorations, because once you start doing fall things, you can't stop doing them, I guess. Even when it's still 88 degrees out and not fall-like, at all.
(Don't judge us. Our next-door neighbors have had ghosts on their front lawn for 2 weeks now, and neighbors across the street from us have a skeleton on their front porch, too. IT'S NOT JUST US.)
We are one week into Brigid's return to ballet lessons, and she's already complaining that having to wait for a whole week between her classes is just toooooooo LONG to wait, and why can't we have ballet every day? and why can't I wear my tap shoes around the house? and how many days until it's Tuesday again?
And even if we've had this conversation for the last three days, we are still going to have to have it again and again until Tuesday finally arrives, because she just. won't. stop. asking.
And the thing is, she could go more than once a week, if I wanted to sign her up for a 'Hippity Hop' class on a different day of the week. Or maybe she could take this 'Superstar Track' program that the studio offers, where they add something they're calling a 1-hour choreography based class to Brigid's schedule each week, but...seriously? Is that something I need to do? I mean, she's four years old. She could change her mind in three weeks and decide she never wants to go back again to the one class she's already taking.
As it is, I'm already trying to decide if I want to pay the $50 they're asking so she can participate in some holiday show in December, in addition to whatever other recital they do at the end of the session next spring, so I don't think I'm really the stage mother they're looking for when they're offering up all of these additional classes to the student population. I'm too tired to be that stage mother.
Of course, if I ever hope to get Brigid on So You Think You Can Dance, thus fulfilling my dreams of meeting Cat Deeley and convincing her that she and I are meant to be the absolute best of friends, maybe I should sign her up for as many classes as possible, right?
* Her teachers have to feed her before anyone else at lunch time, because while she will eat everything put in front of her, she will also proceed to eat anything put in front of someone else if she doesn't get her food first. I think maybe she might get that from me...
* She participates in all of the school activities, but she sometimes participates a little too avidly. Her teachers pointed her finger painting out to me, and casually mentioned that they had to stop her from painting a little sooner than some of the other kids, because she kept trying to eat the paint. I'm going to say she gets that one from Steve. (Also, I've been referring to her as Tommy Boy for the last month, and this just serves to further my argument that she might be Chris Farley reincarnated.)
* Her teachers consider her to be the joy of the class. I'm partially convinced this is because she is one of only a couple of kids that don't cry every day, but I know it's also because she's just such a darn happy kid. I could not be more excited about the way she's taken to this whole school thing.
* She naps incredibly well after four hours of running around, destroying a classroom.
When we were looking at enrolling Brigid in school three years ago, the Catholic church across the street from our neighborhood required that the child be two before he or she started school, which meant that my missed-the-cutoff-by-a-month little girl was almost three when she started. We sent her to a M/W/F class, as the school recommended for all older two-year-olds, and I can clearly remember how easy it was to drop her off on the first day. She walked in, took note of all of the new kids and toys, and barely even said good-bye to me when I left. Of course, a few days into it, the newness started to wear off, and Brigid spent some time in the preschool director's office, to calm down away from the rest of the kids while she had meltdowns around not wanting to be there anymore.
When we moved, and enrolled Brigid in the school at the Catholic church near our new house, I noticed that they had an 18-month old class available, which meant that technically, Caitlin could go to school this year if we wanted to send her. I'm not sure I would have considered it, if not for my new work arrangement and my desire to not have to spend four hours every night working if there's an option for me to get more done during the day. And even then, I was very 'OH, MY BABY!' about the whole thing, until I took her with me for Brigid's open house before the start of this year. She was just so happy to be there, to be playing with toys that weren't hers, to be around all new kids, to be meeting so many new people. At one point, Brigid was sitting in a circle with a couple of other little girls from her class, and Caitlin just kept walking around the circle, patting all of the girls on the head while smiling at me in excitement.
In fact, she was having so much fun, I talked to the preschool director about whether there were any openings in that 18-month/2-year old class, and since there were, I decided on the spot to go ahead an enroll her, too. I took her to the open house for that class a few days later, and I knew, watching her run around her new class, that I'd made the right choice.
We're only a few days into school (or two days for Caitlin and three for Brigid), and they both seem to be loving it. On the first day, Brigid walked right in, found her nametag at her seat, and sat down like she owned the room. I actually had to remind her to say goodbye to me. Caitlin ran into her room and didn't look back. I finally looked at the teacher and said, 'Ok...I guess I'll go now?' I didn't want to make a big deal about leaving and create a problem that wasn't there, but it still felt weird to just leave, with no acknowledgment from C. I did it anyway, and when I went to pick her up that afternoon, about half of the class was in full meltdown mode, while Caitlin sat on the floor, playing with blocks. When she saw me, she smiled, and started throwing blocks in my general direction. As one does. In the words of the preschool director: That one is a force to be reckoned with.
(I joke that anyone that's spent any amount of time with her loves her to death, but every single person that knows her also gives us the 'better you than me' sympathy nod within the first few minutes of meeting her.)
Brigid actually tells me about her day when she gets home now, and Caitlin's teachers have nothing but good things to say about her so far. She hasn't cried once on drop-off, and she's just as happy when she's being picked up as she was when she got there four hours earlier. They think it's funny that she calls everyone mama, which yeah, of course she does. It's the only thing she calls anything. Brigid has won two games of BINGO, and she can't wait for Friday, because Friday is when they get into the prize box. As she's told me every day that she's come home. They're both thrilled to be there, they're both learning new things and meeting new people, and I couldn't be happier with the way things are going so far.
Now, if only they could maybe teach Caitlin to talk already...
One of the more positive points of my new part-time from-home schedule is that I have much more flexibility around signing Brigid up for various activities. I never did get her signed up for swim lessons this summer, but I think there might be an indoor pool/rec center nearby, so that might still be an option this winter. (She's old enough to take lessons without me getting into the pool with her, right? Because if I have to get in the pool with her right after Christmas cookie season, we might just wait until next summer.) However, I did finally (FINALLY, according to Brigid) get her enrolled in a ballet/tap class that starts in two weeks, and we've been taking advantage of living on a golf course by going to the weekly drop-in class for Brigid's age group that the course pro holds every Monday.
(Fun fact: The golf pro grew up 2 hours away from where I did in Indiana, was/is a big Notre Dame fan, and went to the same university as my youngest sister. Small world and all of that jazz.)
She is...entertaining, let's call it...at these lessons. She's only been doing it for three weeks, and she's actually holding the club correctly now, which is a HUGE improvement from where she started, but I can't quite shake the feeling that she may have inherited my grace and coordination (note: I have NO grace OR coordination), especially when I watch her sail the club over the top of the ball repeatedly. But the golf pro has an IMMENSE amount of patience with these kids, and he's teaching them etiquette/life lessons around making eye contact, shaking hands, being polite, sharing with each other, and taking turns (she's getting a lot for $10, now that I think about it...), and Brigid hasn't fought me once about going, so I think we'll keep it up as much as we can through the end of the schedule in October.
Besides, she conned Steve into buying her pink clubs and balls to match, so somebody needs to get some use out of them...
(Please note her course appropriate clothing. Pink glitter Converse sneakers are totally valid golf shoes, right?)