Thursday, November 30, 2006

So Many "Firsts"!

It has become painfully obvious that my girls are growing up. How does this happen?! On one hand, I want them to grow up. I am always helping them to reach that next milestone, and encouraging them when they do "big-girl" things. On the other hand, I wonder how time can pass so quickly! This past week both Clara Anne and Chloe seem determined to accomplish as many new things as possible. Here's a sampling of their activities:

On Tuesday morning as I was doing the breakfast dishes, Clara Anne was playing in another room. I had heard her narrating her play (Doll! Play this! Oh, Doll! This one. Here. Oh no!Come here, Doll!) but for a few minutes there was a suspicious silence. I called to her, and she came proudly around the corner, pulling up her pants. She said, "Mama! Clara. Pee-pee. Potty!" The look on her face was priceless, she was so happy with herself. I came to investigate, and sure enough, she had successfully used the potty all by herself, simply coming to tell me about it afterwards. Prior to this she had usually told me when she needed to go and I would either encourage her to go alone or accompany her to the bathroom. So it was an important first that she took herself there! Way to go, Clara Anne! Her happiness at her accomplishment soon bubbled over, and she came to me and said, "Mama, Clara. Happy!" I assured her that Mama was indeed happy too!

In just the last two days, Chloe has shown how she can now sit up all by herself. As I write, she is happily playing with her Hippo, sitting in my brown leather easy chair, pretty much sitting unsupported. She is getting to be a big girl!

Another "first" for Clara Anne is the recognition of letters. She has a wooden ABC puzzle that she loves to play with, and can easily put together, but just recently she has started naming the letters (correctly!) as she puts them in their places. The really fun part, though, is that she is starting to see letters everywhere. The first time was when she was playing our piano, and she noticed the brand name (Toyama) above the keyboard. She said excitedly, "Mama! Piano, ABCs! Piano ABCs!" Since then she has delighted in pointing out to me other places that she sees letters. It's a fun first! It makes me realize that reading is not SO far away!

On Tuesday night Clara Anne, Chloe and I were hanging out on our bed. I was telling some stories as we relaxed together. Suddenly Clara Anne became interested in a colorful photo that was on the bedside table. She grabbed it and started looking at it, and immediately, Chloe was interested. What soon followed can only be described as a tug-of-war. Chloe was determined to get it from Clara Anne, and Clara Anne was determined to hang on to it. When Chloe managed to nab it, the glee spread across her face, but when Clara Anne took it back, Chloe cried unhappily and stretched every part of her small body to reach for it. It was the first time I've really seen her tie her emotions to something that she is grabbing for--previously she was happy to take it or leave it. I guess here is where the sisterly war over possesions begins!

Chloe is also getting her first taste of Christmas. We did our decorating on Sunday evening, and now our living room is all decked out with lights, a lovely Christmas tree, a special nativity carved by some people from the country we live in, some sparkly snowflakes hung from the ceiling, and lots of garland tinsel. It's maybe a little bit much, but it's pretty! We will enjoy it for this month, especially in the evenings when we can sit in there with Christmas music playing. Chloe is especially mesmerized with the flickering lights that shine so brightly in the darkness. I love the Christmas season, celebrating the miracle and wonder of the Incarnation. I don't love the commercial glitz that goes along with it, but since we're not in the States that is easier to avoid. In the country where we are, there are some decorations and such but most people don't know the true story. So that is also why I love Christmas--it's a great opportunity to share!

I also have my own "first" coming up this weekend. I will be meeting with our house helper to encourage her along the path of the decision that she made recently. I fear that my language skills are not good enough, but when we are weak, He is strong, right? If you think of it, lift up our time together. Thanks!

Well, there you have it. Lots of new things in our house lately! And here's another first--I'm actually done writing my blog and it's only 8:10 pm! Maybe I'll go to bed early--that would be a first!

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