Marcail has recently started singing along to songs, her lullabies, Sesame Street songs like Rubber Ducky and Elmo’s World, the theme song to Caillou, Lady Gaga’s Just Dance, Red Solo Cup… You know the normal toddler music…

When I was going through fertility issues and especially after my miscarriage I was pretty low… mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Everything was raw. Everything hurt. All. The. Time. I thought it was the new norm, who I was going to be. Then I got pregnant. You’d think that would have solved it all, we’d finally gotten what we wanted, cause for celebration and rejoicing! But it didn’t. Instead I spent my pregnancy freaked out. Seriously, flat-out TERRIFIED. Ditto the first several months of Marcail’s life. I knew then how incredibly fleeting and fickle life and happiness were (are?) and that knowledge kept me from enjoying a lot of precious and beautiful moments in my daughter’s infancy. I was so terrified it could all be gone in the blink of an eye (again). Again, I just accepted that as a new, permanent, facet of my personality. But they weren’t. Don’t get me wrong, the raw, the hurt and the terror are still lingering about in my psyche and they do rear their ugly heads from time to time BUT they no longer rule me or define me.

Now… More than three years after the miscarriage, two plus years after Marcail made her grand entrance into our lives… I’m not going to say I’m grateful for my fertility issues or the miscarriage because I’m not. I would never. NEVER. Wish that kind of pain on another woman. But I have found that having experienced that pain, that kind of absolute, heart-wrenching, life-changing anguish has made me… A lot of things, i think: Kinder? More patient? Calmer? More willing to roll with the punches and look for a sliver lining? Definitely more empathetic. And it has allowed me to be in the unique position of being an understanding and sympathetic friend and counselor to friends (& lately it seems there are a lot of them) who find themselves in similar situations. Which I AM grateful for. I’m thankful that I can lend an experienced and thoughtful perspective to those of my friends who are angry or hurting or feeling a little lost. When I was going though these issues i was desperate for someone to give me that ‘I’ve been there’ comfort and (fortunately for them!), precious few of my acquaintances were able to offer it.

I guess you can say that I’m grateful that experiences I thought would break me, that had the potential to forever skew my perceptions toward bitter and angry have instead made me into a better person, mother and friend.

w/ gratitude and love,
-Crystal

Sailor Mouth:
It’s official!  Jason and I need to curb our tongues… Marcail has been walking around saying “Effing” lately.  She’s not using it right… yet (she just says it during random situations) but it’s perfectly clear. :/

Too soon:
I talked to our pediatrician about the fact that Marcail does NOT play well by herself.. as in not at all… I was concerned because, you know, I need to get things done occasionally and therefore I can’t devote 24/7 to my toddler like she’d like me to do.  The doctor asked me if we’d considered preschool.  She thinks Marcail is very bright and energetic and is probably just bored.  Part of me is so incredibly proud, my daughter is so so smart! But part of me wants to scream NO and snatch her back from all this growing up nonsense and cuddle her forever.  Especially since we don’t intend to have more babies, it’s a bit hard to past the fact that she’s not one anymore. (FYI: Jason and I talked about it and think we’ll consider preschool NEXT year… it’s just too dang soon for Mommy to let her go).

Imaginary(ish) Friend:
My fellow thespian and friend, Mat, is incredibly good with kids and Marcail adores him.  So much so that she’s taken to talking to him and playing imaginary about him when he’s not around.  I don’t know what you call it when someone’s ‘imaginary’ friend is someone real… But it’s incredibly cute and an endless source of entertainment for me to watch her go about talking to a friend of mine who is not currently present.

w/love,
Crystal

I keep coming up with things I need to add to our family blog and I keep not doing it… but I would be TOTALLY remiss if I didn’t add some details about Marcail’s birthday so how about a little photo essay?!

The theme was Sesame Street, I made the favor bags, the ‘pin the nose on the Elmo’ game and the decorations plus I frosted the cupcakes.  My dear friend Jessica made Marcail’s adorable 2 outfit. 

We all know ‘those’ parents…

The ones who never say no to their kids or the ones who dress the whole family in matching j.crew cardigans or the ones who yell at their kids in the checkout line or the ones who enroll their kids in miniature triathlons or the ones who only speak Dutch at home or the ones who ban gluten and sugar from their entire lives or the ones who let their kids watch hours of ridiculous television… You know, ‘those’ parents… Or should I say ‘these’ parents because, really, we’re all somebody’s ‘those’ parents…

I’m sure I don’t want to know what ‘thoses’ other people assign to Jason and I (the best piece of advice my mom has ever given me is to remember that other people’s opinions are none of my business -which isn’t always easy to abide by but it is an absolute sanity saver for neurotic people pleasers) but I’ve noticed a few myself.

We’re those parents who open a facebook page for our toddler and post things as her. We’re those parents who talk a good game on organic, healthy eating but who actually sneak chocolate when their child goes to bed. We’re those parents who were against co-sleeping and attachment parenting, until they wanted sleep and peace. We’re those parents who think it’s the cutest thing on Earth when their daughter learns ONE line to a 15 year old song by an indie band, then post a video of it online immediately and are disappointed when it doesn’t illicit many comments. We’re those parents who suddenly feel it’s ok to talk about potty training issues to everyone they meet. We’re those parents who agonize over the perfect birthday gift for their toddler knowing full well that she’d be perfectly content with a blanket and an empty laundry hamper. We’re those parents who take and post photos of their kid constantly…

Because we’re those parents who think their daughter is brilliant and beautiful and amazing and who think everyone else should think so too.

With love,
‘that mom’ Crystal

Marcail talks more and more each day but sometimes it takes a degree in foreign languages to decode her chatter. We try very hard not to encourage baby talk or mispronunciations but some of the things she says are so uniquely, adorably ‘her’ that I’m going to be sad when she learns to say them correctly…

For example: Boo-uh-fee means beautiful, Cado = avocado, mingos are actually mangos, sunshine comes out sounding more like sushi, dishies are dishes and she calls our close family friends Branyon (rhyming with canyon) &Hedda instead of Brandon and Heather… She transposes the ‘s’ sound in words like basket, necklace and star in a way I’m not even sure I can recreate in text. Twinkle Star sounds a lot like ‘chickenosaur’ -it took me days to figure out she wanted me to sing rather than to go out and discover a new species of prehistoric fowl… And it takes so much concentration on my part not to default to “Jaquey” when calling our family dog (Roxie).

There are probably more… I’ll think of them all as I lie in bed trying to sleep, I’m sure, but my point is just that she’s smart and funny and lights up my life… Even when she’s driving me “uh-nanas.”

With love,
Crystal

ps- please forgive any misplaced words, this is my first blog from my iPad. Autocorrect and sleepiness just don’t mix…

EDIT:  So I had to add a few more that are super cute (you know, for posterity sake). 
XO = Let’s go!
Kiss Hamitchees = Kiss Sandwiches

Marcail does imitations of people, “Mommy says, ‘I love you!’  Daddy says, ‘No no no.’  Bumpa says, ‘Totally chicken.’  Ducky says, ‘Course you can’t!’ (though she really says “CAN” – that woman would help Marcail bury bodies, I’m sure of it.) Cookie [Monster] says, “Om nom nom.’ Elmo says, ‘La la la.’ Count says, ‘One ah ah ah.'”  Some of them I have taught to her (what Daddy says for instance) but others she decided on her own, including an unflattering (but spot on) imitation of one of her little friends.

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Instead of using the ing suffix, Marcail says things with an ins at the end.  It makes her sound like a tiny southern belle.  Eatins!  Spinnins!  Seeins! 

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She desperately wants to count and say her ABCs.  Right now counting sounds a bit like, “Two, fee, five, semen, semen, nine… YAY!!!” The other day I caught her muttering, “ABC… F… H… OP!… T… WX… Now I (mumble mumble mumble) WITH ME!!!”

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Instead of saying, “NO!” like most toddler, Marcail’s current favorite word is a negative, “mm mm.”  It drives Jason crazy because she has my intonation down perfectly.

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She occassionally exclaims, “ORANGE!” for no apparent reason.  Even though she’s not a huge fan of the fruit and the color is nowhere to be seen.

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Lately she’s started adding “too” to another word to indicate she wants something you have or are doing,  “Loves too”  “Lunch too”  “Coffee too”. 

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“Marcail turn” means “I’ll do it myself.”  “Help you” means “Help me.”  When she wants to say “Me” she adds an “ee” to the end of a word “Holdee” “Spinee.”

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For several days she would say something like, “Chickenasaur” to me in a rather demanding voice.  I had NO clue what it was but we’ve finally decided she’s asking us to sing, “Twinkle Star.”

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No matter what she’s saying, she keeps me on my toes and entertained and delighted pretty much every day.