Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our Second October

Head, shoulders, knees and toes!

No Paparazzi!

Grace has been using our stainless utensils for six months. But one night, after stabbing her fork into the wooden table time after time, we offered the ultimate threat -- "Do you want a baby fork?" -- referring to the useless, rubbery excuses for utensils that frustrate so many kids for so long. To our surprise, she replied "Yes!" with a big grin. Grace is shown here enjoying a meal of many baby forks.

Here she is, determined to wear her strawberry sandals from China one last evening before packing things away.

The weather has turned cooler here and we are enjoying every minute of it -- we've been to petting "zoos" to see the farm animals and back to the park we visited last year; we have taken Grace to the city to meet up with old friends visiting from far away; we have put away the summer clothes and moved on to tights and leggings and long sleeves and coats. Grace now finds plums, pears and apples in her lunch and cider in her cup. We roasted acorn squash (on the grill! Go Daddy!) and collected leaves in the yard.
Every day brings new words and skills. Lately, she has been singing ABC and Happy Birthday (sounds like "appee juju") and counting to 10 (using just 4 numbers -- clever kid, she's counting in factors! Or something like that....).

She enjoys drawing and making beautiful arts and crafts. She is very capable of expressing exactly what she wants ("The door OPEN," she says repeatedly before bed). She is also very stubborn and funny, and can really hold a grudge.

Eight weeks ago, a little girl in her preschool bit her finger while arguing over a toy. Not only will Grace still hold up her finger for inspection and kissing if you ask about the little girl ("Avery bite"), but she has also started to blame faulty household objects on this tiny fall-girl. "Avery broke it," she says, while pointing at lightbulb that has gone out. Cheerful and loving little Avery runs to hug Grace every morning despite Grace's visible lack of interest. One day, Dad witnessed Avery run full tilt toward Grace when, at the last moment -- like Lucy and the Football -- Grace ever so slightly and swiftly, and with no change in expression, leaned sideways and let Avery crash into the door behind her. When we tell Grace that she needs to forgive Avery for the biting, our daughter's response is (and always has been,) "Why?" We just learned that Avery will be moving away. Hard to know how Grace will take it but I sadly suspect even after Avery is long gone, she will not be forgotten -- or forgiven!

Grace has adapted well to her parents' busy schedule. Daddy's work means that Grace is spending longer days in preschool. Fortunately, she loves it and is thriving. She is very independent. The night before I left for a three-day business trip, I sat beside Grace to break the news: "Mommy's going on a trip-" I started, but before I could finish the thought, Grace held up her hand, waved and said "Bye! Bye Bye!" as if I needn't take a second more and should depart immediately.

Finally, I recently captured on video an episode of Grace TV (the baby monitor) where one normally finds at 9 pm reruns of the same soap opera of "Maaaa-mmmeeeeee," complete with fake tears and hyped-up drama. However, after spending a whole day with new people, Grace saved up some newfound dialogue for a zinger of a denouement. After we tucked her in, we turned to the monitor to find a pleasant, calm child laying on her back grinning and repeating my name in long, drawn out syllables. Guess she figured I was more likely to answer to that than the stock dialogue.

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