Annika, Auntika, & Grandma-ika

Posted on April 4th, 2012 by Viveca in Gallimaufry

Today is my niece Eden’s tenth birthday. Next week she’s coming to spend her spring break at “Camp Viveca.” I can’t wait! I already have tickets to two circuses and a long list of other activities planned. Eden and her older sister, Annika, have stayed with me a few times, but this is the first time just Eden will stay. Her now-teenaged sister will be spending spring break with a friend. Annika stayed here by herself once though. She had just turned two, and it was her first extended time away from her parents. More importantly, since they were a lot more nervous about it than she was, it was her parents first extended time away from her, so I kept a diary for them of almost everything we did. From over a decade ago now, here it is. I’m adding a few photos from about that time (none are actually from that week; I don’t know where those are).

Carita and Chris spent ten days in Mexico. Judy and I spent ten days in New York with Annika. This is the (slightly edited for public viewing) log I kept to give her parents when they returned. Annika was very sick when they left, not eating, and on antibiotics we gave her twice a day.

Sunday, March 11, 2001

Driving home (your car drives nice!) I’m thinking about how we spent every weekend with Grandma growing up. I just now realize J&R probably wanted the time off and that it wasn’t just a treat for us.

When I get home, Annika has had her medicine and milk. She’s fine; mom says she quit crying about a minute after you left, and they drew all three of us on the MagnaDoodle. She puts on all her jewelry for us to do laundry. Then I notice you left the cookies. So does Annika, who takes one with chips and eats it, carefully wiping the chocolate all over her shirt while we wash the other clothes. The only other cookies left all don’t have chips. They were on the bottom.

I wash her face, which is caked in boogers and dried milk. I have never in my life picked anyone else’s nose before.

Annika ate cereal and about half a banana for breakfast. Mom made coffee, and as soon as the pot started Annika started looking around saying “my daddy is here.”

We had a playdate at Javier’s with 16-month-old Andrew (and all the rest of Jav’s family). On the way there, Annika used my phone to call you both and say hi and bye a few times. The two kids ate Froot Loops and pressed buttons on things together. I think three TV’s were all going, full volume, including one in the living room we were in. Annika, to my surprise, barely glanced at it. We came home, Annika ate chicken nuggets, grapes, strawberries, drank milk and went into the crib. We could hear her singing Twinkle Twinkle and chanting “where’s Daddy?”, and she was asleep by 1:20. Woke w/ a giant load around 3. Ate a vitamin, juice, nuggets, crackers, and apricots.

In the afternoon, we went and bought a humidifier to help her breathe at night and did some other errands. She saw lots of dogs and a few fire trucks.

Dinner was a tiny bit of cheese mac, a tiny bit of corn, and the rest of her chicken nuggets. She took a bath, she had medicine and milk, we read and sang, and she went to bed right at 7:30. I rushed in once because I thought she was choking, and I held her up to drink some water, but she didn’t even wake up, and by the time I’d poured the cough medicine/water mixture, I didn’t have the heart to wake her. She sounds much better, and the humidifier is on.

Oh, we broke her bowl; sorry. It dropped.

No, I will not be able to keep up this level of detail. And on a non-Annika-related note (what!?), we watched the re-make of Bedazzled, which of course can’t hold a candle to the original even if it wasn’t as bad as we both expected (except for the religious stuff at the end, but that’s not the point), and Paul Adelstein has a fairly large supporting role.

Annika fancy dress

Day Two, March 12, 2001

Annika cried “Mommy” in her sleep a few times, but either went right back to sleep or did after I rubbed her back. She woke around 6:30 crying “Mommy,” hugged me a while, then wanted to climb back in her crib. Maybe ten minutes later, she woke for real and was cheerful and fine.

We had medicine and milk and changed diapers and got dressed and ate cereal and dolphins. It’s nice that she can tell us what to do – the only things we tell her to do are eat, sleep, and take her medicine. After breakfast she even wanted me to brush her teeth after I did mine.

The humidifier has soaked my entire floor and rug. I don’t think it’s supposed to do that.

The cat kept walking through Judy’s legs, and Annika told us she walks through her parents’ legs because “My Daddy has big legs and big hands.” She drew us pictures of both of your legs on the MagnaDoodle.

We all got on the subway together, I got off and went to work, and Judy and Annika went to the American Museum of Natural History. Annika seemed fascinated by the loud trains, but not upset, and when the lights went out in the train, she said it was going to sleep. They spent one and one-half hours there. Annika liked the little dinosaurs but not the big ones, which scared her. She also saw a movie about bats and an elephant. Afterwards, mom gave her a choice of bus or train, and she wanted to go back on the train.

When they came home, she said she was hungry and ate lots of cheese and crackers but not much else. She was asleep by 1 and still asleep when I got home at almost 5!

She ate a vitamin and drew some pictures of her day. Oh, and I gave her some cough medicine, which I think she only agreed to because she thought she’d get milk for medicine, which she didn’t. We heard construction noises, and she said that was her daddy. Now it’s dinnertime.

She ate pizza, corn, carrots, ham, and cheese for dinner. We drew some pictures for you. Then she wanted to go outside, so we went for a walk. She knows where my house is now. She’s so smart. What else? She ate more – juice and raisins. Bath, medicine, book, songs, bed. She requested two songs and then was asleep before 8. She really likes getting in that crib.

Mom said she woke “inconsolable” from her nap and cried a while without saying why, but then she went right back to sleep. That was her only even moment of fussing all day. Not a single tear while she was awake.

This parenting thing is easy.

Demure

Day three March 13, 2001

Annika was coughing like crazy around 6:00 a.m. after not coughing all night. I tried to wake her to sip some water, but she wouldn’t budge. She slept until 8. When she got up, I asked her if she had any dreams, and she said yes. “What did you dream about?” “Mommy and daddy,” she answered. “What were they doing?” “Daddy and mommy.” She isn’t upset that you’re gone. She talks about you all the time, but she never asks where you are. I think once she said Ty was downstairs.

OK, I knew I couldn’t keep that up. I’m writing this tomorrow.

Judy and Annika went to the Scholastic store and played on a giant school bus and saw a big Clifford. Now Annika loves taking the subway, and that’s all she talked about. Judy forgot about the forms to order books, which reminded us we forgot about the insurance. I’ll make her a note.

She took a 3½ hour nap. Mom said it was the first time she woke without crying and the first time she woke without a load. Probably not a coincidence.

We went for a walk. I brought her balloons. She wouldn’t eat much dinner, but mom said she ate plenty of lunch and snacks. Medicines, vitamins, milk, baths all on schedule, but no poopies today. She was asleep by about 7:45.

Day four, March 14, 2001

She woke at 7:30 singing quietly to herself with a huge load. She hardly coughed all night, but this morning her boogers look completely different. Before her nose was just running all the time and it was all watery. Now her nose is mostly clear, but when something comes out it’s massive, thick, and green. Her boogers aren’t actually any cuter than a grown-up’s.

Wouldn’t eat much breakfast but had a few bites of egg.

I asked her what she was singing about this morning, and she said “mommy and daddy.”

She picked out my clothes for work (I went with her second choice – her first choice “I like that” was a bright pink slip). Then she found three Dr. Seuss books I didn’t know I had – “there’s your ‘Sam I Am’ books, Giv.”

Oh! We just had our first mishap! (I mean besides forgetting the Scholastic forms and the insurance calls). OK, I was the only one injured, and I’m fine. Last night when we gave Annika her bath, I threw the shower curtain and liner over the bar to be out of the way. This morning when I got in the shower and took them down, my eyes were suddenly seared and I had to run out crying. Judy and Annika were pretty startled to see me running out naked and crying. It turns out I think I left them leaning against one of the lights, and the plastic burnt through. I opened a window.

Annika has something to say to you: iu nrnrnrnrnrnrnrnrnrnrnrnrnrnrnrnrn xv n

All right, I have no idea how she opened a text box and closed the Word window – I think it’s easier for her to reach the function keys. Never mind. I asked what does she want to say to mommy and daddy (she’s on my lap) and she said “I love you.”

We visited my office. Annika had the choice of transportation and picked the train. She says they’re loud and that she covers her ears, but in fact she doesn’t. Everybody in my office loved her (of course). Paula gave her a dinosaur and some pink little papers (post-its), which she loved, and I gave her a thing that she can stick out its tongue. She liked looking out my window at the lake (Hudson River) and big buildings and playing with lots of toys.

They left and walked home slowly, including visiting a playground. The slide was wet, and mom wiped it off with tissues, but it was still wet, so they put a diaper on over her clothes, and she went on the slide without getting wet. Ask Annika about it. She thought it was so funny to wear a diaper over her clothes. I thought it was brilliant.

Lunch, nap 1 – 4:30, load (but not crying) on waking, vitamin, snack, drawing.

When I came home, we went for a walk by the river and saw dogs, water, birds, art, trucks in the water, boats, and her favorite, helicopters that weren’t too loud. She liked the birds too. We came back and sang Wheels on the Bus with her new favorite book. She makes me do one wheel while she does the other, always the same one.

She ate macaroni and cheese with carrots and breadsticks for dinner – all by request. During her bath we had mishap number two. That tubby time is dangerous! She pulled the plug, and before I could stop it, a blue washcloth got sucked down the drain! I can’t reach it, and now it’s not draining so well. Startled the heck out of me too.

Brushed teeth and hair, medicine, milk, new book by Lore Segal from Lore, who is here now (also Naomi Diamant, who, apparently, actually exists). A little belly bumping and three rounds of A-B-C-D later (both by request), she was ready to go to sleep (7:30). The last two nights she’s asked us to open the door. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea tonight (because Lore talks kind of loud), but she insisted so of course I did. So I go back to the dinner table, and I can still hear her so I come back, and she’s singing, “in and out, in and out, all around town.” Definitely asleep before 8:00.

Upstaged!

Day five, March 15, 2001

At about 3:00 a.m. the humidifier started bubbling so loudly it woke me up. She didn’t budge. I don’t think she coughed all night. Floor was dryer though.

At 7:00 I could hear her singing “Mommy’s Song” (otherwise known as A, Alligators All Around) to herself and reading Thomas the Tank Engine. Medicine, milk, breakfast, etc. all normal. Her nose looks clear, and for the first time she didn’t wake up with boogers caked all over her face. Her skin looks better too, which is probably related. She kept asking for a new diaper and claiming there were poopies in it, but there weren’t. We try the potty chair almost every day too, and she always says, “not today,” when nothing happens.

Forgot to tell you, mom called the insurance company yesterday, but they said it was fine.

9cc80bba7lllllllllllllllllllllll bnykm

Can you guess who wanted to type on my “pooter”? One of her few baby mispronounciations but soo cute! Pooter. teehee.

Mom was asking her who the pictures on my window were, and she thought Richard was David. It’s an old picture. I could understand the confusion. I was more surprised she knew who David is.

This morning I stayed home from work. Nathalie, Renee, and Nancy came over. We had a nice play date. Both girls were mostly ok sharing with the other. Annika did not seem as taken by Nathalie as she has in the past.

At one point, everyone started sniffing, and checking bottoms, but both girls smelled ok. Then I saw my cat leaving the litter box with a long turd hanging off her butt, which she dropped on the floor in front of everyone. So mortifying.

By the end of the play date, Annika wanted to go outside and had started putting on her coat, etc. We went on the porch for a while, but it wasn’t enough, so we walked them to the car. She put her boots on all by herself, and Nancy was amazed that we let her leave them on even though they were on the wrong feet, but we pointed out that her feet weren’t actually going to touch down since she was in the stroller.

When we got back, I gave Annika her milk, etc., and she went down. She was probably in the crib by 12:30, but I could still hear her singing to herself when I left for work at 1.

Judy said she woke howling around 3:30 and telling mom to go away and kept crying for 15 minutes, but as soon as Judy changed her poopy diaper, she cheered up.

They went to the good playground and played on swings and in the sandbox. Mom said it was a big hit.

OK, I’m crushed! They just walked in and mom heard me and said “Guess who’s here?” and Annika said, “The kitty!” totally ignoring me and racing to the cat.

Anyway, big dinner, long bath, lots of books, medicine, milk, teeth brushing (new order), and to bed, and Annika gets in the crib and says, “it’s all wet.” Sure enough, I guess I hadn’t screwed the top all the way on the sippy cup. So we take everything out, and I put in a towel (for a pad) and a sheet all folded up, and of course she throws a fit that she doesn’t want that in there. But Judy started asking her if she wanted different toys in the crib or not, and soon she was fine. I sang and rocked her for the first time in a few nights (usually she wants to go in the crib while we sing), and then she got in bed, and we sang more together. I called you and left, and mom said she was still singing loudly until maybe 8:45. I think both the short nap and late night are probably just from having no real activity until after her nap. Every other day Judy’s been running around town with her, and she tires out.

So today I felt bad because a few times if I’m around Annika is mean to Judy. When I’m not around, she loves her, and I can tell how much fun she’s having doing all these things together. But if I’m there she’ll tell Judy to go away or say she wants me to do whatever it is instead of letting Judy do anything. Well, I guess she does it to me when you’re around.

Two other notes: a. is the first few days Annika “needed” her blanket on walks. Now “I don’t need that,” and it stays inside. 2. is just how incredibly much more she talks when it’s just us. As soon as she’s with anyone else, she becomes much clingier and less verbal. I guess you knew that.

Humidifier overflowed the damn tray; floor is soaked. Either I’m doing it wrong or it’s broken.

Day six, March 16, 2001

This is going to be short (I hope) because I’m pooped!

Today heard both mom’s alarm and mine and was out of bed before A woke up very cheerfully. Medicine, milk, breakfast, clothes, etc. fine. She wouldn’t wear the space cowgirl overalls I like, but so be it.

Circus – she loved her car, the blue tent, the horsies, and the doggie. Shy when I sent over clowns or introduced her to people, but petted a dog and a miniature horse.

On drive home told us lots of elaborate fantasies, e.g., Mom showed her the picture of her and Chris in my wallet, and she said “That’s my daddy. I love my daddy. My daddy is asleep now” or later, “Ty is asleep in the other room. You have to be quiet. Don’t go in there” and when we passed Newark Airport, “My daddy is driving the airplane.” Stuff like that. Or I ask, “What does Ty dream about while he’s asleep?” and she answers, “Mommy and daddy.” “What are they doing?” “Daddy makes a hot fire.” She also said you each dream about the other.

Milk on way home – a little cranky but fine. This was the first time she’s asked for milk during the day, and we’d brought it because we knew we might be a little late for her nap.

This was the day I was a bad mom. Everybody is ok, but your car is not. I’m sorry. I hit a concrete thing guarding a gas pump. I couldn’t see it. They were all stripped. Obviously I’ll pay for it (and I’ll try to do all the work). I was barely moving, but I bet it’s going to be expensive.

Judy said she had more milk, about a 2 ½ hour nap, vitamin etc. fine.

When I got home from work she wanted to go out, but Lorelei and Arthur were due any minute. She wanted to change, so we dressed in matching matching blue sneakers, white socks, denim overalls (hers w/ cool “space cowgirl” rocketship embroidery), ribbed turtlenecks (ok, hers purple, mine turquoise), taxicab yellow coats, red hats, and band-aids (I actually had a boo-boo, she just wanted a band-aid) and we went for a walk to all these fancy restaurants to ask for take-out menus. It was fun. We scared the bejeezus out of some of them thinking we actually wanted to eat there. Others just went ga-ga over her (as well they should!). I highly recommend walking into fancy, trendy restaurants in a yellow slicker with a two-year-old; quite amusing.

Came back and they still weren’t here, so we did her dinner and started tubby (“I need lots of bubbles over here”), and they came in. So we finished tub, hair and teeth brushing, diaper, pj’s, medicine, milk, books, songs, bed. She was so giggly and wonderful. Have I mentioned I love her? I try to tell her every day how much I love her and how much you two do. She keeps telling me she was in the blue tent and she saw clowns. She was so shy around them at the time, but now she keeps saying she loves the clowns and she’s sleeping with the Circus program in her crib.

She insisted I keep the door “a lot open” even though we were all talking in the next room, and then she loudly sang to herself for quite a while – maybe over an hour. I think she faded out a little after 9. We’ll try to get back on your schedule.

By the way, Lorelei and Art are so cool! I always like them better and better every time I see them. Lorelei just got back from an emergency health and safety inspection trip to Brazil. We got take out Spanish, which was all oil and garlic, but I at least managed to pull out a bottle of wine that made them say, “ooh, save that for a special occasion” and some nice chocolates. I’m classy like that.

I need to collapse now. Night night.

photo by Grandpa Bill

Day seven, March 17, 2001

My computer’s date thing isn’t working right.

OK, someone wants to type:

,kzccccccjjjuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr cimeexiooooorrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmkkkk kkkk jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjnnnnnnnnnnnmmmmmmmmmmm

Wow! She just renamed one of my program icons. Ok, back to her.

Kkkkkrrrrrrrrrrrrrrik Un6666666666666h66y777777777777777777 l;;; l

Oh boy, she started Netscape, she can make (and get rid of) text boxes, she has identified more A’s (correctly) than I knew there were, and she’s found ovals and circles. These are the first buttons that she asks what they do I think. She doesn’t ask on th1e1 dis1hwa0sher, .she Just .+pre5sses them. Ok0, /I—-‘v/e /geot the letters; jgue Ss Who++++’s working the number pad? Vhllllliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiuuuuuuuuuiiii[[[[[]]]]]]]]]8-07nh444444444444444444

Today I could hear her around 7:00 a.m., but she sang, dozed, sang, read, dozed until 8. Medicine, milk, computer. Then she asked me to change her poopy diaper. Again, she won’t let mom touch her crib, give her medicine, etc. if I’m around. She’s fine when I’m not. Actually just the way she is to me about you two.

She’s getting a little demanding about the clothes, so I think we’ll do laundry today. Might be tough to get her blanket out during her nap, but it sure needs washing.

She really wanted to take a walk, and I wanted to shower, mop up from the humidifier, etc. so mom took her to the store. As soon as they left, Bill called. He said Chris let your departure date slip in an e-mail so he’s been worried all week, even waking up in the middle of the night. We were actually about to call him this morning. So we chatted a while, and at first he said this just wasn’t done in his day, but later he told me this whole story about staying at his crazy uncle Bill’s farm and how much he hated it and that his sisters would threaten to send him to uncle Bill’s to make him cry, and I think hating being at his uncle’s had as much to do with his anxiety as her being away from you two. So he was reassured, and Annika came back in time to chat with him a little, which made him very happy. She said “Hi Grandpa Bill” and “I love you Grandpa Bill” with prompting, and she answered all his questions “How are you?” “Are you having fun?” and “Did you see dogs and school buses?” with unprompted yeses.

OK, she’s shouting “Viveca, [where] are you? Come right here” so I will.

Had a great time walking through Times Square and an ok time at the puppet show. She’s being meaner to mom, running away from her today and refusing to sit in her own chair between us at the show, staying in my lap. I don’t understand it at all, because times like now, when I’m in the other room, I can hear her having a great time with mom and laughing and talking and being silly.

Anyway, after the show, J went to the Met, and A and I came home. She drank some milk and slept 1 – 4. She wouldn’t eat any lunch first, but she’d eaten juice, dolphins, raisins, etc. all morning, and she had a big breakfast of mostly bread and yogurt.

As soon as she fell asleep, I tried to get her blanket out to wash it, but she was completely on top of it. I washed everything else including her crib sheets (she was still on the towel/sheet set). I called a few body shops to see if I could bring in the car for an estimate, and I fell asleep with the phone book on my lap. My first nap in a week and sorely needed.

She woke cheerful but with a big old load and something of a rash. Mom was still at the Met, and as soon as A woke she started asking over and over again where Judy was. Funny that she does that but doesn’t ask where you two are. Mostly she just tells us where you are (“my daddy’s making a hot fire”). I wish she would be as nice to mom when mom’s around as she is to mom behind her back! Anyway, she ate about half a generic poptart and some OJ. They’re pretty good; much less sweet than I remembered. Poptarts that is. Tony called, and she kept shouting “that’s my daddy on the phone.” J came home, and A and I went to the playground at her insistence even though it was raining.

Came home, dinner, etc. In the bath, she announced “I made farts in my bath,” which she has said before. Then hair and teeth, books, medicine (again flipping out when Judy brought it to her), milk. My friend Paul came over during this; the one person who has actually been bugging me for years to introduce him to not Annika but Judy. Anyway, after stories I whispered to her that it was time to kiss Judy goodnight, and she said no, and I asked her a series of “who took you to the museum?” and “who gave you the Wheels on the Bus book?” type questions and she shouted “Judy!” to each one and then kissed her, and I took her to bed. She plops in the crib and starts making some serious noises, so I ask if she’s farting or pooping, and she says, “I’m making farts!” and now I’m wondering if she’s ok because this is a lot of farting, so I ask if it feels good, and she says “I like making farts!” and I admit sometimes I do too, and she says “Judy likes making farts!”

She sang by herself much less time tonight; I think she was asleep by 8. Several times today she announced something was hurting (belly, eyes, vagina), but they all look fine. Oh, speaking of which, Tracy left a message today she has strep. She’s ok on antibiotics, but she doesn’t know how long she’s had it and wanted to warn us. The three of us definitely don’t have it.

Anyway, so Judy and I had dinner with my friend Paul. After he left, I opened the door to go to bed, and this toxic cloud almost knocked me over. For a little kid, those are some big farts! Ironic that it was the one night she didn’t beg me to leave the door open, and I closed it because we were talking. Well it’s open now, and I hope the little sleeping fart machine stops no matter how much she likes making them, because I can’t breathe!

Day eight, March 18, 2001

We started to type this together, but she gave me so much “help” that I had to close without saving and re-open because you wouldn’t have been able to read anything. She wanted to say “I love you” and tell you she was eating breakfast. She also wanted to find A’s and make and get rid of boxes, both of which she did. She also converted my text to italic all caps.

Tony and Carmen just arrived. Normal morning so far. Woke 7:30, sang until 8:30 despite my offering a few times to get up. No poop. Finished the medicine. Breakfast. I asked if I could clip her nails, and she said they were sharp. Then she said, “movies.” She’s on to you. So I turned on Rugrats (Annika: “I love Rugrats. Viveca loves Rugrats”), but she mostly watched me cut her nails and told me which ones to do. She didn’t seem to mind at all, and we turned off the TV as soon as we were done. We’ve hardly turned it on all week. Then we did a lot of good typing, and I gave Annika stamps of red seahorses on her arms.

Tony and Carmen came over, and we had a nice play date. Carmen looks just like we remember Lizzie. Annika did not get shy or stop talking when they came over, but she didn’t want to share her markers or MagnaDoodle. Carmen was shy until I blew some bubbles. Carmen and Annika were both shy of the other one until the other one disappeared for a new diaper. Then it was “where’s Carmen? What’s Carmen doing?”

We all went to the playground. Annika mostly played in the sand box. Carmen mostly swang. We came back and had lunch and put her down as soon as they left, which was late. Carmen was so tired she was standing up with her face leaning on the chair. Then she ran away and lay down on my bathroom rug. Annika (and Viveca) slept 2 – 5.

Woke with load (Annika only). Ate vitamin. Long walk, playground, big dinner, tub, milk, bed. She got very into my body today, asking to touch my armpit, see my vagina (part of the ongoing “who’s a girl” discussions), and asking me to get in the tub with her; none of which requests I accommodated, but she didn’t get upset. I would have let her touch my armpit, but she was in the bath and wet and bubbly and I wasn’t. Nothing else to report I don’t think.

That reminds me. I forgot to tell you a funny story. The other day we went out for a walk, and we sat on a step to eat raisins. I was sitting on the step and she was sitting on my lap facing me (with her legs straddling my body because I’d been carrying her on my hip). Her lips were still badly chapped from being sick, but she wouldn’t take any balm “because it had yuckies on it.” So I put some on and asked her to give me a kiss. Right when I rubbed my lips across hers, someone walked out of the house and probably thought I was making out with a two-year-old. I should have shouted “no tongue” at Annika right when they gave me that look.

I know you think I’m a slug, but we’ve made it out of the house at least once every morning and at least once every afternoon. We all get restless. It’s only in your house I can stay in for three days in a row!

Sparkle

Day nine, March 19, 2001

Well, of course we stayed on almost a perfect schedule until exactly the last day. It’s like that time I lost the rabbit on the last day of rabbit-sitting for a week. Although come to think of it, you lost it. And anyway, I haven’t lost the baby. Somehow she slept until after 8:30 today. I suppose it’s possible she was just singing quieter than usual and I didn’t wake up, but I think she was out. Regular morning milk, breakfast, etc. Mom left for the airport before we woke up.

Then we went out to get estimates on the car. I’ll talk to you about the options, which range considerably. Every single one wanted to know who was paying before they would give me an estimate, and they all admit they charge more if the insurance company pays. No wonder rates are high. Then we went to the playground and did some shopping.

Came home, ate lunch, and she went down easily for a nap around 12:30. I was trying to get her back on schedule. I could hear her singing, and I fell asleep. She woke me up before 3 crying because she’d taken off her pants and half her diaper, and it was filled with poop. Lovely. Of course she wouldn’t go back to sleep after that. Jav came over, and I ran out for a quick haircut. I came back less than an hour later, and she’d just asked to go back in the crib. So now she’s totally off schedule and sound asleep at 5. Maybe I’ll even wake her up so she’ll go to sleep tonight. I’ll put away the laundry first.

Jav said they shared an apple and drew pictures of you two while I was out.

Today I’ve been telling her you two are coming back tomorrow, but she doesn’t seem to get it. If I say to guess who’s coming she says, “grandma Judy,” who she hasn’t asked for today. Judy left us a note this morning, and Annika and I read it together. She could read her name and the pictures, and I read the rest. It was cool.

I did wake her around 5:30 and took her for a walk. She kept wanting to “walk” (ride in the stroller) instead of going to the playground or anything. She was a little tired and out of it, but not too bad.

We came home, she ate a good dinner, and then for the first time, she didn’t want to take a tubby. I started to draw it anyway, and she got excited reaching in and splashing, but I had no hot water (fight w/ super, etc.), and I let her go without. First night with no bath.

Friend David came over first, and she was shy, but he sang Wheels on the Bus and read to her so she warmed up a little. Friend Mark came over later, so he didn’t get to see her laughing and playing. I put her to bed around 7:30. I could hear crying, but I wasn’t sure if it was her or the kid down the hall, so I went in the room. It was so dark I still wasn’t sure, so I asked, “Are you crying, Annika?” and she said yes. So I asked why, and she said, “Open the door, Giv.” So I did, and she started singing ABCD’s to herself. I left it open until the singing calmed, and then I closed it. But we were talking etc., and she fell asleep pretty fast anyway. She just didn’t want to be left out I guess.

That’s it. Sorry about the car (bowl, washcloth). Obviously I’ll pay to get it fixed, or I got offered a free way that won’t raise your insurance, but of course it’s sort of a scam, so we’ll talk. But Annika is fine, and we had a very nice time.

I’m back. I couldn’t stop. I can’t sleep. Annika kept whimpering, which she hasn’t done since the first night you left. And I started wondering if maybe I shouldn’t have started talking about you coming back, or if I should have forced the tubby issue and boiled water, or what, but then I took a whiff, and she had a big old load, so I just changed her in the dark – she didn’t even wake up – and now she’s sleeping peacefully. I guess it’s all about the butt.

Two more things I wanted to add for the records. The first is that after her bowl broke, she didn’t ask for it or say anything about it for a few days. She was mostly using little plastic ones. Then she started announcing, “My bowl is broken” every now and then, and sometimes “My bowl is broken. I use this one.” Then one day she was playing with the plastic bowl intently and she asked me to put tape on the bowl. I asked why (I thought she thought it was broken too) and she said “Put tape on it, and write my name on here.”

Other thing is just that every meal we’ve been asking her if she wants a red bib or a blue one. I was sure we’d had a yellow one at the beginning, but I didn’t know where it was. So on mom’s last day when she unpacked her backpack, there it was. So the next day I offered Annika red, blue, or yellow, and she said “we don’t have yellow here.” It was just interesting because I’d never told her it was missing. She was happy to find it.

Things she learned while here: the difference between a light and a light switch. Where my house is. How to take the subway train. How to turn my touch light on and off. All about the elevator. The word “actually” (sorry, she caught it from me—now she keeps saying, “actually, this boot goes on the other foot”). What dishwashers do. That not all big bodies of water are lakes. How good Poptarts are.

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The End of the Line

Weighing the options

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NQ: Astoria/Ditmars Boulevard, Queens

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JEZ: Jamaica Center/Parsons Archer, Queens

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 We take the J because we both ...

SIR: Tottenville, Staten Island

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2: Wakefield/241st Street, The Bronx

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R: Bay Ridge/95th Street, Brooklyn

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L: 14th Street/8th Avenue, Manhattan

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1: South Ferry, Manhattan

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L: Rockaway Canarsie, Brooklyn

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6: Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx

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M: Middle Village, Metropolitan Ave., Queens

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A: Inwood-207th Street, Manhattan

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