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Athena Dreaming

Home Sweet Home

So I think maybe I didn’t mention that Frances ended up with a few little treats from my trip. Well, maybe more than a few. She got a little Dora the Explorer doll that does not make any noise at all (not an easy find). She got another Elmo to add to her Beloved Elmo collection:

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A waterproof Elmo with bath crayons!

I also saw some toys, when I went out with my friend Wednesday night, that I’d seen in Mastermind Toys a long time ago and thought to get for Frances when she was old enough. I couldn’t resist these, though, since they are choking-hazard free:

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And you know how she loves the bunnyrabbits.

This morning she woke up at a regular time, which felt way too early because of the time difference, and we spent thirty minutes letting her kick us in the belly so we could avoid getting up. I didn’t get any profusive displays of affection, but when I picked her up she said, “Mummy!” And that was enough.

And she’s said it about a million times since then, so maybe she did miss me.

She liked the Dora, when we finally got up. She really liked the Elmo. But what she loves is the bunny rabbits. She has carried them everywhere with her since I gave them to her about two hours ago, not putting them down for more than a few seconds at a time.

It is good to be home.

I don’t have to be at work today, or Monday; I’m sure I’ll be back to my regular schedule by later today, but for now I’m going to go and play with my little girl, and wonder over all the things she’s learned to do in the four days I was away.

Normal Schmormal

As I mentioned before, part of our recent shopping spree was a toddler-chair for Frances. They don’t have it on their website, which is really a shame; it’s a very small hard chair covered with tan fun fur and a plush lion face on the backrest. We also bought a to-be-finished wooden table set from Michaels that we are going to saw the legs down on so it will “match” this little lion chair, and she will have a table and chair set small enough for her to be comfortable. But the table still has to be finished and assembled (we’re targeting her birthday/Christmas), so in the meantime, I’ve brought this upstairs. The top can be flipped over to make a table, so now if she wants to use her crayons or markers, she has a nice, comfortable table and chair to use while she does so.

Of course, as any mother reading this will now, the mere act of moving a toy from one room to another imbues it with new life; so her megablocks table, which had been languishing in a corner of the basement for months, is filled with excitement and potential once more. On the one hand, this means she has no interest in using it as a table. On the other, she is really enjoying her megablocks. She runs to her lion chair and sits down, and talks to herself as she plays:

“Yellow block goes here. Brown block goes here. Little girl goes here. Tiger! Tiger says grrr. Tiger goes here. Giraffe goes here. Doggie! Doggie! Woof woof! Yellow doggie goes here. Triangle goes here. Square goes here.”

And so on.

I sit there and remember how excited I was, way back when, when she first started to put her megablocks together and pull them apart again.

I also remember we bought this table set because it was the perfect height for her to cruise around, at the time; it came up to her waist and so she could walk around it with her hands on the table and be quite comfortable, and have a toy there that would encourage her to stay upright and keep moving. And now she’s tall enough that she needs to sit at it to play comfortably–if I were to eyeball, based on her height compared to that toy, she’s grown about three inches since last December. Which isn’t quite as much as a “normal” child on the third centile line would have grown, at 3 1/2 inches, but is pretty damned close, and way better than I had feared last winter based on her growth pattern at that time. (Her pattern in the second half of her first year was to put on about half as many inches as other children her age, so I was expecting her to grow maybe 2 or 2 1/2 inches this year altogether.)

High-Speed Internet Has Taken Over the World

Here I am, at my hotel in Winnipeg, using the free internet access. For no reason other than to let you know that I can, really, since I have nothing to say.

Except:

1. I want to say nice things about Winnipeg. Does it count if I say that all the people I’ve met from here are really nice? Because the parts of the actual city I’ve seen so far are less positive. The buildings look poorly cared-for and dingy, there seems to be a fairly substantial homeless population for a medium-sized city, and the shopping was not fabulous. I’ll remind myself firmly at every opportunity that all I’ve seen are a few blocks of the downtown core.

2. Wow, they tell you the prairies are flat, but when I saw Winnipeg on the horizon through the airplane window at midnight last night, all the lights lit up in an orderly grid as smooth and regular as graph paper, it hit me: The prairies are really flat. I’ve seen tables with more surface irregularities.

3. Sometimes, a “complimentary breakfast” means a full breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant. Take that, Crappy Ottawa Hotel.

4. Google “sleep number beds.” It’s hard to describe and I don’t know what I think of them yet.

5. I miss my baby.

I went home last night for two hours before leaving for my flight, and I cried. It was so hard to leave my little girl, who was being her most adorable self ever, engaged in earnest conversation with her Elmo puppet (once again, the part was played by my hand). She likes to play a game with ‘him’ that goes like this:

Frances: ELMO!

Elmo: FRANCES!

Frances: Elmo!

Elmo: Frances!

Frances: Hello, Elmo!

Elmo: Hello, Frances!

Frances: (whispers) elmo

Elmo: (whispers) frances

Frances: giggles

And if Elmo didn’t suddenly and inexplicably develop a raging case of narcolepsy, it would have gone on all night.

We also tickled, and played tag (I handicap myself by crawling), and she helped me pack my needlework supplies. I got myself a few hugs and kisses, and then the taxi came and I had to go, and that’s where the crying started. Mine, not Frances’s. To all reports, she has been fine without me; I called just after our afternoon sessions ended and she was her normal cheery self on the phone.

My very exciting plans for tonight include:

1. Start needlework project
2. Read book
3. Consume diet beverage and candy bar purchased in hotel lobby
4. Prepare Frances gifts for Frances by pre-opening them and getting rid of all those pesky child-proof fastener things
5. Don’t cry