October 28, 2015

Shot the girls last weekend - framed by blushing leaves and fall sky. They were on parade.

October 24, 2015

Three sisters.

Full of delight to have the biggest one here.

October 23, 2015

Romy (21 months), Colette (3)

Our little Romy Danda is an intrepid force. She follows kids right up a steep slide, gripping the sides to climb. She runs into a hole with an underground ladder leading up to a high lookout. I try to follow. She darts away from me and frantically climbs the ladder to top. Before I can get up to follow her - she is down the 15-foot slide, backwards. I slide down quickly to try to catch up. She is already back at the top. Parents are coaxing kids twice her age to go down the slide and then they actively decelerate them as they come down to dismount. They look at Romy with wide eyes.

She gets injured a lot. This summer her teeth went through her bottom lip. Her head is goose egg central. She cries for a bit, but then spots the next high thing to climb and reaches out her arms toward it.

Romy has been obsessed with scooters at the park for months. She is such a little peanut still, we didn’t think it was relevant quite yet. So she got really good at stealing scooters and taking off with them – very fast. After seeing her repeatedly do this we bought one. Colette is still a bit timid on the thing – eyeing us for support. Romy dashes off, propelling herself forward, looking for downhill slants to pick up speed, paddling along with confidence.

Whenever she sees an iphone, she exclaims with puckered lips, “Moomie!” She likes music videos.

(Colette one evening after bath, before bed)

Colette makes a very funny Catholic.

I was concerned the other day when I heard her downstairs saying, “Jesus! Jesus Christ!” I wasn’t sure if she was using the name casually or if it was with a holier intonation. She was leaning over something, staring at her hands, looking worried. “I broke him, mama. He was just hanging there and I broke him.” She had been given plastic rosary beads at school and clearly treasured the offering. We fixed Jesus and she ceremoniously re-hung him back around her neck. She informed me, “He made you, he made me, he built this house.”

Then, on a walk on the other evening Colette looked up at me dramatically,
Colette: "Mother, may I pray?"
Me: “Yes sure Colette, of course”
Colette: "Call me child, not Colette"
Me: “Ok, child”
Colette: Nod of approval – eyes closed with drama
Me: “Please pray so we can catch up with Romy." Romy was trotting on ahead. I was antsy to catch up with her.
Colette: "Let's stop"
Colette lined up her two hands, palms together, fingers perfectly mirroring each other (full 2-minute process), then released them to touch the top of her head, her chest and her shoulders: "Name of the father, name of the son, name of the hooooooooly spirit" AMEN

Just after she had begun school and she was learning the ritual, she took a more militaristic style. On day 2 of school I asked her about praying. She looked at me and saluted with a stiff right hand to forehead: “Name of the father” – shifted the salute to her chin: “Name of the son” – then hand to chest: “Name of the holy spirit.” I was cracking up.

I hear her around the house saying things like, “Mother of God.” But respectfully – in recognition of her.

Other funny Colette-isms of the moment:
“I’m a doctor nanny,” she announced playing pretend.
“I’m the controlling one” she declared, not pretending at all.

I asked her to shut the door so mosquitos wouldn’t come into the kitchen a few weeks back. Colette looked terrified and whispered, “Are they looking for skin?”

October 13, 2015

Adirondack weekend.

We received a providential offer to spend the weekend with some good friends at their cabin in the Adirondacks. It was like something out of an American movie – the log-cabin settled just at the edge of a glass-watered lake, ringed by timberland all in perfect fall paint. The lake was the centerpiece of our time – kayak and canoe trips to the little island in the middle of the lake; conversations on the dock, marinating in the abating warmth of the year; watching scarlet leaves float along the surface of the water – alms from the trees; and from every window – the lake, the lake. We heard stories of ice fishing and snowshoeing and hockey in the winter and swimming contests in the summer. The cabin has been in the family for generations and is a central gathering place. The woods and water all seem to come together in this way too. There was no cell phone reception, which was reviving. I loved focusing on the girls and the leaves and the water.

We explored the woods. Romy was such a character – insisting on being barefoot on ground covered in pine needles, stones and pine cones. She would yo-yo from running ahead of us on the path to hollering and lifting her arms in the air – help! We found a makeshift park in the middle of the woods constructed from tree stumps and a 2x4 balance beam. Colette and Romy put on quite a show.

I sat with Colette for a full hour one afternoon and we talked about letters, rolling them around in our mouths, tapping them on our tongues and the roof of our mouths, Colette inspecting some for the first time. The hour felt long and pleasurable – the letters golden with the hue of the sun.

October 1, 2015

Pennsylvania Getaway.

We ventured to Pennsylvania last weekend to spend a shake of time with my parents. They like nothing more than their grandchildren, so Colette and Romy were especially glad. Colette entertained us all with her hilarious quips and Romy, in her usual way, was irresistibly sweet. Highlights included a trip to a Mennonite-run 1950’s diner – a complete delight for Xavier (true to the era in every way possible), a picturesque duck-pond/park with giant trees for climbing, the horse-drawn Amish buggies of Lancaster and mostly my mom and dad.

"I'm comfortable", said she:
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