Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Month 61, 62 and almost 63

Hey Maddy!

It's me - your overly busy and underly writing mom. Maddy! You are almost 5 and a HALF. Which is a super duper big deal to you. And it's amazing to watch you grow...

I remember months... years? Years ago I questioned when your confidence would change. Your certainty and unwavering belief in yourself. And it's starting to...

You are now aware of the fact that other people, outside of you and us, see you and evaluate you. And you, like most of us, are super concerned about what they think.

Your friends think you scribble when you draw? Well, you sort of do, it's so much better but not perfect. And that is ok! You are not confident of your fine motor skills and say you can't do it (when you can, if you concentrate). But you remember this, obsess over this, get sad at your friends saying you scribble. You remember all the bad things that have happened. A mean word, a snub, someone not listening to you... You bring them up, you get upset all over again. You hold on to it all...

We try to tell you to let go of the bad. Easier said than done. We try to make you think of the positive things that happened. "None" you say.

But, really, most of the time you are a happy and confident kid. SO outgoing, so much personality, such a complete and utterly natural exuberant person. But the filters are starting, the need for approval is starting... Your worry is starting.

In happier news, you are still the funniest kid I know. You whistle constantly. If not whistling, then talking, always moving. Always questioning. You have started asking the definitions of all words you don't know. Trying to understand their context. Which has lead to fun conversations about religion ("Mama, which religion am I?"), life ("Mama, where does life come from?") and death ("Mama, what happens when you die?").

We have you officially registered in kindergarten (WOO!) and we have you registered in your new daycare - in the end we had to move you over. And that is ok too. You can stay with your friends there.

We have already started the preparation to have you leave Odg at home. No Odg to kindergarten. You are ok with it now, but the one day we forgot Odg at home and you went to daycare without him? Baba had to come by with him. Which, of course, meant that once you saw baba you just wanted to leave and you made baba PROMISE to come get you early that day. Which? She did.

Of course she did!

I have to say, Maddy, you have the best most amazing and supportive and loving grandparents. They are always there for you, and that means they are always there for us parents too. And you love spending time with them. And I love to see that. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents but there wasn't a lot of interaction. They did their thing, I played by myself. Watching you and baba and dido play and laugh and joke... it's wonderful.

This weekend we had special "daddy-daughter" date and "mommy-maddy" date (alliteration FTW). You and your dad watch Cinderella. You were not as taken with it as you were Frozen. And for us Maddy? We did... errands. Went to get a few things at Superstore, then to Toys R Us (for shopkins) and then for a hair cut. But you LOVED the individual time and were devastated that your parent-kiddo dates were DONE. "And they will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN". Um... no. Just not on a school day!

Every time we say no, it becomes an absolute.

Can I have milk? No. I will never get milk AGAIN!?
Can I get a toy? No. I WILL NEVER GET A TOY AGAIN!??

No. Maddy. Not what was said.

You're also at the place where you are testing yourself physically. You run away from us, you hide. And when you do that I try to keep my eye on you but still move from where you expect me to be. And I watch you run and stretch those ties to us. Then stop, and look where I was for reassurance. I want you to know that I can more too - that if you run too far I may not be in your line of sight. I watch your face become uncertain... I watch you look for me. But only for a second, then mama is back and with you and holding your hand and making sure you understand you need to stay close.

But Maddy, you are loved. You are adored and cared for and encouraged and provide boundaries with elastic borders and... you are just plain old loved.



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Month 60

My dearest Maddy,

You are FIVE YEARS OLD. An amazing and wonderful and filled with righteous indignation ATTITUDE five.

It's been a looong time since I have updated anything. This may be long, it will be disjointed, it will be "quick takes". And this will also not be another commitment to write more. Because I hate lying.

About a year ago with worked with you, Maddy, on you "th" sound. So it's TH-ree not F-ree. You picked it up so quickly! Although, you took the change too far... while we have been able to, for the most part, correct your pronunciation you insists on TH-inger. Not finger.

"Mom! My thinger hurts! I have a cut on it".

And now it seems perfectly normal, this adorable mispronunciation. Another favourite is your version of duplicate. TWO-plicate.

"Mommy! This is a two-plicate toy, to one I have! They are TWINS".

And, yes, we have tried to correct you. And, yes, stubborn Maddy is stubborn. And that is completely perfect, just the way you are. Now feels the time the elaborate on the many ways you can be stubborn. Determined? Spirited? Confident? Any or all of those.

You were four-AND-A-HALF until the day you turned 5. I foolishly made a big deal of you being four-and-a-half during the summer, in an attempt to get you to take more responsibility around the house. And you sort of fell for that. Although up until the end, you were not FOUR. You were FOUR-AND-A-HALF. But you are helping a little more around the house! You can make your bed, you are starting to dress yourself (although I have to be there to remind you to stay on task and not drift away to do something that caught your attention), you sometimes help tidy the house. We need to add more though... Can I get you to start washing dishes? Both your dad and I are pretty sick of doing it ourselves. We seem to use changes in age as markers to change behaviour. Turning 5? You will no longer get a popsicle for... potty. This has been hanging around since you were just over 3, and we potty trained you. And had to bribe you... and it's DONE. Although we have popsicles left, which are now desserts... and not really reducing your sugar intake. Oh the humanity!

But the real you is coming out more and more. You like leggings, not jeans. You wanted your hair short, like mine. You decided you were finished with dance on Saturdays and instead want to play games with mommy and daddy, and watch movies and have fun. Ok then... done! You don't want to be an astronaut anymore (my influence) but a "vet, pediatrician, baker and a singer". never one thing - always the world. You knew exactly what you wanted for your birthday party (Frozen theme). And that you would decorate your cupcakes for the party yourself (which you did).

You also decided that you will have a baby brother. When you are 7, he'll be here. Sadly (for you) mommy and daddy are pretty committed to ONE AND DONE. When I probed, and asked his name you said "BLUE... no. Max. MAX!". And still, even after getting a name? Nope. No more. Although apparently you want three kids! Thlora (the girl), Atasha (a boy) and Patricia (another boy). Three kids. All with very unique names!

And you are loving crafts and drawing! And you are getting quite good. We went from random scribbles to actual people. I think it's partly peer pressure. You made a comment about the one little girl in the preschool program that scribbles still and kids comment... And then you stopped. As a kid I loved art and drawing, so it's wonderful to see you love it too! You also tell stories about how you are being teased for sucking your thumb and are trying to stop (but if you are really upset or really tired you can't help yourself). Peer pressure. Already.

But luckily your best friend is an AWESOME little girl, Kiki. You are both about the same height, similar interests. And same assertive bossiness. I am not sure how THAT works - but it does. I think it's because if you want to do something, and she doesn't, you go your separate ways and play independently. And then play together later! Two only kids... I just wish you and Kiki lived closer together - she's quite far away. Kiki won't be at your school next year, so we'll see who your best friend will be then.

Next year. THIS year. September 2015. KINDERGARTEN! Luckily we can keep you at your existing daycare for before and after school care. Yay! I love the staff there, and they love you too. And I am super glad we waited to put you in. We could have, this year, but you will be older and more mature in September. I think you would have been able to do it, academically, but socially? Why rush it. Maybe in grade 1 we'll transition you to the before and after school care there, so you can be with your friends. But this year will work with the same place.

And now the challenges. There are a few! Attitude. OH SO MUCH ATTITUDE. Any request? Met with "UGH! FI-I-I-I-INE". And a huff. Or scrunched up face. Like anything at all is a complete imposition. Or even more fun? You ignore our repeated requests until we speak firmly to you. THEN you attitude. Or burst in to tears because we "hurt your feelings". Oh the feelings. So many feelings! And not sarcastically. You have such a soft and tender side. Feelings easily hurt, anxieties and worries starting. So sad if you think someone laughed at you. Bad dreams still happen almost nightly. We have significant routines to protect you from Noms (still around!) and nightmares. Although most mornings I am greeted with an announcement of "Mom! I heard a bad dream last night..." and then what it was. Being chased? Being laughed at? Noms? Things happening that is not expected. Every morning I listen and hug you and kiss you. And every night we try to prevent them with the moon night light, Nom traps (pieces of paper around the vent, where Noms come) and a special no-Nom vent cover and night lights you sleep with, that snuggle under the cover with you (you must fall asleep under the covers, often pushing yourself out after you fall asleep, a small sweaty being emerging from your blanket cocoon). Also, you are in a significant mommy phase. Mommy puts you to bed, mommy to help you, mommy hugs. Mommy. And sometimes it's draining, when I need a moment to myself. But mostly I am going to take every single second of time with you while I can.

Because you are my favourite. Ever was, ever will be.

I love you Nunu


Friday, May 9, 2014

Month 51

Dear Maddy,

So late. So, so late. So sorry? You are 51 months old! And every month is more and more awesome.

Your crazy, crazy mom has done her research and picked you kindergarten school. For September.


But I wanted to do research on the schools early, then have the chance to check then 2 years in a row... We'll go to again next year. But we made the choice! I am a little in love with the kindergarten teacher. She is amazing! But it's tough, I wanted to choose another school (it was so much closer). But when you walk in, you know. And I knew. There was a time when I considered moving before Maddy was in school, but I think I am part of this neighbourhood. We're making friends, we're getting to know neighbours, we love the school... and the thought of moving makes me weep. So much STUFF we have. So many boxes... Plus, this is home.

About you Maddy. You started soccer this week! And it was adorable! This was your first time playing soccer, and you were insistent on carrying the ball in your hand. And there was a LOT more running than you are used to... but you had a blast! About about 35 you were in a little playing a little game, and you got TIRED. You sat on the field dejectedly. Coach sent you to the side for water. I told you that water? I soccer? Was MAGIC and would cure everything. You drank hungrily.

In my (sometimes lacking) sense of humour I thought of soccer games, when the limping and grimacing man splashes a little water and is fine, when I said that. But you, your 51 month old you, believed me. You drank deeply and ran back out. About 2 minutes later you huffed and puffed your way back to me and sicnerely said

"Mommy, I think the water is BROKEN. I am still TIRED"


But you loved soccer. And still love swimming. Although dance is less interesting... This summer you will get to choose two. Not three, that is too much (for me). Although you are getting the whole family more active. Last weekend we went on two "walks" (where you ran at a dead sprint the entire time). And tonight we went out and all four of us played a rousing game of soccer. Even Walter was in on it (and is now exhausted). And you are better than you were! Plus, it's good for all of us to be more active. Because of you, my love.

Well, one of the walks we went on last weekend was half walk, half BIKE RIDE! You got your first new bike! The Sparkler! It's purple and white. And you love it! Your helmet? It's a women's helmet. Remember, 51 months is just over 4 years old. Women's helmet. Yup.



But since your last month-day we celebrated Easter! Many egg hunts were to be had. At aunty Kathleen's. At daycare. Then at Fort Edmonton Park. And then at home... It was a lot of egg hunts. And Maddy loved every single one! There was such real and genuine joy in every single one. Every one. And I think that is my favourite part of 51 months. The pure and real joy and laughter in everything you do.

Even ice cream.

Happy 51 months, my beauty, my love, my so smart girl.

I love you,


Monday, March 31, 2014

Month 50


Only 5 days late... NOT BAD! Happy 50 months my Maddy.

What can we say about you this month? You are FIRMLY into the "Why" phase. EVERYTHING is questioned. Absolutely. Everything. Your dad and I are both trying to calmly answer questions and encourage your learning. Well, except when you deliberately troll us. Which you do! THEN we laugh at you.

And I am apparently firmly into the caps lock phase. I hope both of us grow out of this soon. For everyone's sake.

This is starting to fade, but another phase you have been in is the Randy the Macho Man Savage phase (aka the phase where you don't say "Yes" you say "ooooh yeeeah").

Do you want milk? Ooooh yeeeah.

Are you hungry? Ooooh yeeeah.

Do you love your mommy? Ooooh yeeeah.

Do I love this phase? Ooooh yeeeah

You also do not admit to not knowing anything. Instead of "I don't know" we get a very first consonant heavy "WHat?"

Maddy, why are you crying? WHat?

Maddy, what does this word say? WHat?

Maddy, why do we sleep? WHat?

Do I also love this phase? Ooooh yeeeah.

And we're also very deliberate in avoiding swearing in front of her. She's picking up on the swearing timing, but thankfully isn't actually cursing. Yet. We get "What THE?" in place of generic swear word. Adorable, more appropriate and a sign that we're doing well with the swearing avoidance.

This month we went and looked at your 2 options for school in the neighbourhood. There is one I liked logically. Then there is the one I walked into, that felt great and clean and I adored the teachers and principal and was light and happy. Despite firmly committing to keep you in preschool for one more year (you'll start September 2015) I know which school I like. You father thinks I am a bit nuts for looking so soon, but I wanted to see the difference between 2 years in terms of teach and principal continuity and... feel. Next year, my baby girl, you will be in kindergarten! And you are already excited for your new school.

This month we also signed you up for continued swimming lessons (4&5 beginner) and continued dance class and now also soccer! 6 weeks, outdoor and you already have to miss one week (we'll be out of town). I definitely don't want to over program you, but I also know how important being active is and how sedentary your father and I are. Our evenings consist of dinner, clean up then sitting and watching videos on the computer or TV as you sit. With us. I am vowing (when it warms up) to get more active and pull you along with me, Maddy. But in case this fails (again) I want there to be more activity in your world.

And a last rambling tidbit, before I say good night. Noms. Noms have been a part of our life for many years. They are your monsters. They come out of the furnace vent at night. There is a special spray we must spray on the furnace to prevent them from coming out. When they die their tongues stick out. One looks like Mr. Grouper. Yes, from Bubble Guppies. Mr. Grouper Nom.


Your imaginary monsters. Which we have vowed over and over to protect you from. And from all the monsters, real or imaginary, we vow to protect you from them all, for as long as you will let us. We love you so much Maddy. When you are trolling or stubborn. When you are funny and sweet. Sleeping and awake. We love you. Just for who you are.

Happy 50 months on earth, my big girl.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014



Oh. Maddy. I am not sure this is the right day to be blogging about you. And how amazing (and exasperating) you are.. Time for the REAL.

You are having a boundaries pushing day. Every boundary. Pushed. And pushed. And pushed.

Started off on an adorable note, this morning. When asked how your sleep was, you responded:

"Good! I slept 10 inches!"

See? Adorable! Then breakfast.

You had toast and oranges and a glass of milk, in an open top plastic glass (feeble attempt at foreshadowing, note the glass). We park you at the dining room table, with your LeapPad, where you slowly eat and play on your tablet. You have the attention span of... a 4 year old. Naturally. The LeapPad keeps you at the table (instead of getting distracted and wandering off) and gives me a chance to get ready while getting the most food we can into you. After about 15 minutes of eating, I came back to the dining room, to give you the one minute warning - one minute and breakfast is done and we will get you dressed. You then asked for a sippy cup, for your milk. I said no. There was one minute left, plus you are a big girl and you don't need one. I walked back out of the room. Two steps out the door and I hear:

"Mooom! My miwk SPILLED".

I walked back in. Milk all over the table, dripping on the floor. And the cup sitting upright in the centre of the milk.

"Maddy. Did you intentionally SPILL YOUR MILK??!"

"Mommy, if I had a sippy cup it wouldn't have spilled".


Um... WHAT?! Did you really just... MADDY! I fought back the shocked laughter and we had a serious talk about how we do NOT spill our milk. And now help me clean this up, child. I am not sure you expected to be reprimanded. There were a few tears.

And then the usual litany of "Maddy. Please, stand still. You need to put on clothes. Well, then you pick out your clothes, if you don't want to wear this. Maddy! Which shirt? You need pants. No, those are pjs. Maddy, if you stay still your hair won't get pulled as I brush it. Maddy, put your coat on. Maddy. Coat. Maddy, yes, those toys are awesome. YOUR COAT. Look me in the eyes, look at me. Maddy, I need you to pay attention. Get your coat. Thank you! Yes, you are such a big girl for putting it on yourself!! Maddy, stay still. I need to zip it up. Madeline. PLEASE STOP MOVING."

You know. The morning.

The evening? We were having dinner. You were sticking your tongue out with food on it. Not paying attention. Dancing around your seat. Refusing to eat what was on your plate. Finally, after many requests,  your father pointed his finger at you and asked for your attention.

You look him in the eye. Smiled. And tapped his finger with your spoon.


Later that evening, you wandered into the pantry and grabbed a snack. Even though we have told you, you must ask before taking.

You put the opened and half eaten raisins on table, looked up at me with angelic eyes and said:

"Mommy, can I pweeeease have a snack?"

Learning it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission... already. I told you next time you take without asking I will throw that food in the garbage. I expect to do so tonight.

Then brushing teeth, with your dad. You insisted on having the glass that you use to rinse your mouth on the sink before starting. Your dad asked you to start brushing your teeth, then he'd get it from the other room. You refused until the cup came. Pouted and huffed and threw toys. Then yourself to the floor when you weren't allowed to get your way. Which ended in you being carried out of the bathroom bawling and kicking.

And that was today. Seriously. No literary exaggeration.

But you are still so sweet and wonderful and funny and smart. Yes, challenging. But more importantly, just plain ole awesome. Even when pushing boundaries you make us laugh and smile. And your intelligence and problem solving is something you need to be proud of. We are exasperated, but proud too. We love you endlessly Maddy. Endlessly and always and forever, just the way you are.

Happy 49 months, my love!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Month 48 (aka Four years. ALREADY!?)


You are now 4 magical years old! Saturday we had your birthday party at a facility in Sherwood Park. It was PERFECT. You ran and ran and climbed and played for 2 hours with your friends. And then there were cupcakes and signing happy birthday and gifts. And then a a few more minutes of play. The out of there for the next party! I like that - definite start and end times for parties, and someone else to do the clean up.

Sunday morning, your actually birthday, we tried to sing you happy birthday. And immediately your hand was up and you were commanding we stop.

"You sang that YESTERDAY" in your most exasperated voice.

Well, ok then! We had dance class (where you got a necklace from Ms. Jeannie) and the grocery shopping (where you got a PILE of goodies from the grocery store!) and dinner at baba and dido's. With a mountain of toys there! And an ice cream cake, as requested.

At the end of it all, I asked you what was your favourite part. The gifts? The cupcakes? The ice cream cake? No, it was playing with your friends from daycare. Not the kids of mommy's friends. YOUR friends. And so thank you Jack and Evan and Bailee for making Maddy's 4th birthday amazing.

I was like Maddy as a kid. I wanted my friends over all the time, always a friend over to play. I'd beg them to be allowed to stay a few minutes longer. A sleepover. Anything to have company. Neil was not this kind of only child. He was content alone. At least we have experience with the 2 extremes.

I see many play dates in our future.

And now that you are 4, we are going to get you a "big girl" twin bed! You are still on your very very firm crib mattress. Which can't be comfy. And there is barely room for you in the bed, with all your stuffies in there too. And sometimes? I just want to snuggle. So twin bed it is!

Your imagination is remarkable my dear! One evening, as you were falling asleep, you must have had a little dream and woke up in tears. There were balls of light coming out of your red IKEA table and they flew around your head and went into your belly and now your belly hurts. You were so upset!? Your amazing daddy took the offending table out of your room (it has not been allowed back in since) and now there is even more room for your big girl bed. And every morning we get to hear about your dreams the night before/. For a long time, it was all about the bad dreams. Now we count how many good ones and bad ones you had. But the details? Only the bad ones. Humans and interesting animals.

Yesterday you went to the doctor. for your 4 year check up. As soon as Dr. Chambers came in, you began telling your stories and gesturing emphatically to get your point across. That you were just there for the EAR DOCTOR and now he was the TUMMY DOCTOR and how it was your BIRTHDAY. The doctor smiled, leaned over to me and said quietly "I see a BFA in her future". So. Much. PERSONALITY.

But you are in perfect health! 3'4" tall, almost 43 pounds. So still 90th percentile for weight, 80th for height. Same as you have been almost from the start! Although even at age 4, there are the comparisons starting, with the sly allusions to height and weight and the desirability of skinny (with tall and skinny for boys, short and skinny for girls). Oh Maddy, what is this world you were born in to!

Although I have to admit, looking at pics from your birthday, I was immediately drawn to my waist and the extra there and immediately found myself failing. Not the joy on my face, at my daughter's birthday or the sense of tired accomplishment that it was going well (despite the fact I have been fighting something for months and months). Nope. Not even the joy on YOUR face Maddy, as you had so much fun at your birthday! My waist. And arms. And chin... And how I wasn't good enough. And these thoughts even when I am actively working to stop them.

What is this world we live in?

Well, my love. My four year old love. My big girl! Time to shut this old laptop off and get to bed, as I try to fight off this pestilence that has invaded me to the core (yes, that was dramatic. I can like the drama too!)

I love you. We all love you. Happy 4th birthday my big girl.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Month.. Oh man. A lot...

Well, I have failed at even once a month blogging! There is a long list of reminders in my inbox saying "Maddy letter dumbass!" (dumbass mine). And I see it. And I even add it to my list of things to do. And I don't. Why do I resist?

Who knows.

There is SO. MUCH. AWESOME. in our lives. Maddy is amazing and hilarious and so so smart and wonderful. And daily Neil and I laugh or cringe or are shocked by something she says or does. And I want to remember this all. I post pithy little Facebook updates, and maybe that could be enough. But I think I want more context. One of my 2014 resolutions is to... (you guessed it) BLOG MORE. And over a week into this, I am only just starting.

There are some really really old examples of her awesomeness that I saved in Google Keep (love that program - electronic sticky notes). One night, in July or so, as I was putting her to bed, I snuggled her tightly as we laid on her floor. Then I pretended to be fast asleep, with over the top snoring and everything. Maddy kept squirming and trying to get out, calling out "MOMMY! WAKE UP MOMMY!". I ignored her demands to wake up and stole the snuggles. She stopped moving... she was thinking...


She couldn't wake me, so the rooster would! I started laughing, ruining the snoring and let her go. And then stared and my 3 and a half year old, in awe of her problem solving. Her voice wouldn't wake me, so what does wake people? ROOSTERS! Oh Maddy, you'll have us on our toes for years and years to come.

(Just a picture from a playdate that I adore. This post needed more pictures!)

This was the first year Maddy went trick or treating, and understood it. And it was SO MUCH FUN. She dressed up, we walked and walked (and collected reams of candy). She was so polite walking up to houses, holding my hand. The first time I stood back to take a picture (below) is the first (but not last!) house with a motion activated scream machine. If you look closely in the picture you can see Maddy looking sharply to the right, as the machine starting cackling. Oy! I ran up the her immediately and was much more careful staying by her side. And holding her for a few other houses with motion detection machines.

After it was all done, we were snuggling in bed and talking about trick or treating. She loved the candy, the visiting. I praised her for being brave with some of the moving decorations. She said she wasn't brave, she was scared.

"Maddy, being brave means still doing what you want to, even if you are sacred. And mommy is so proud of you". I always, always am.

Right now, Maddy is helping with everything. Setting the table, cooking, cleaning... she can do it ALL because she is a "BIG girl now". And we're still trying to accommodate her as much as we can. Cutting the tomatoes? No. But putting the cut tomatoes into the bowl for me? Sure! We can make this helping thing work.

Over Christmas Maddy insisted on helping Neil shovel when it was when it was pretty cold out. We found her snowpants, scarf, tuque, gloves, jacket and warm boots. And her little pink shovel. And she was out! Helping Daddy. Well... "helping". She felt it was important to take the snow OFF the banks and put it on the sidewalk. Then when corrected, no snow on the sidewalk, she took the snow off the bank, crossed the sidewalk and put it on the OTHER bank. Where is slowly rolled down and landed... on the sidewalk. But she's trying! And we encourage that.

Another way Maddy wanted to prove she was a big girl. On New Years day we decided to go out to our favourite sushi restaurant. Maddy hears my mom and I constantly battle to see who will pay. That day? She ran into the living room, grabbed her little toy piggy bank (in the shape of a "Madelineraptor") and proudly declared SHE would be paying! She carried her piggy bank in to the restaurant and told the waitress (who we know well) that she would pay. Rhea looked at us, and we quietly indicated we'd cover the rest. And after dinner, Maddy proudly carried her 45 cents to pay for dinner. And we proudly finished off the bill.

Over Christmas Maddy was home with us when daycare was closed. We tried to get her out of the house, activities and visiting. And even tried to arrange a playdate at our place (although it never happened). But there was a lot of "booooooooored" and "I want you to PLAY with me!" over the days. Espousing the virtue of independent play was not going over very well... Finally on December 30 we could take Maddy in for the day! Despite us both being home, we knew she would love the time with her friends. She walked in to little girls screaming her name. Maddy hugged each little girl so tightly and exclaimed "I MISSED YOU GUYS!" and was off. She has reached that socialization place - her friends are so important to her. And they will continue to grow in importance (as we, the parents, diminish). And that is perfectly ok :)

(A picture from a friend's birthday party)

Maddy is also showing great interest in music. Neil is in a band (awesome band) and Maddy has been having fun "practicing" with him. She'd play the Rock Band game drums as he played bass. For Christmas I asked her if she wanted a drum or guitar, so she could play along with Daddy. She looked at me, with a puzzled expression and said

"A bass, mommy"

Well. A child's toy bass has not yet been invented! So she got a toy pink guitar, which she affectionately calls her bass. And it's obnoxiously loud. And she loves it!

 (Maddy, practicing with Daddy, back in the summer)

Being a mom is often collecting wisdom from friends. One dear friend was explaining how in her house she's taught her daughter there are no secrets, only surprises. The reason for this is dark, if there is anything inappropriate happening, and someone tells Maddy that what is happenign is a "secret" that she can't tell mommy or daddy... well. There are no secrets in our house. But it's hard to give up that vocal tic. 

A few days a ago we were sitting around. Maddy and Daddy were on the couch together, watching something on the computer I think. Maddy was being her usual awesome self and I was struck with how much I love her. I said aloud "Maddy, can I tell you a secret?". She stopped, thought and said "But we have no secrets mommy". Oh Maddy! You are right, I was wrong. There are no secrets. As I try to teach you, you reflect it back at me and make me look at life anew.

Parenting is not about saying the right thing, always. It's about modelling the right thing, as often as you can. And when you see something positive and confident reflected back at you, in your child's eyes and actions, you know that despite the mistakes you are doing ok. There will be secrets, one day. There will be lies and hurt feelings. We will be so irrelevant... and as long as we give her a solid foundation to act from, she'll be ok. So far, so good. We have an amazing little girl in our house.