Rory’s Room

A Day in the Life

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He goes wherever he wants, these days. He stands up in the middle of the floor, walks across, and changes directions when something new catches his eye. If anyone feels like a little chase, he’s only too happy to run away. With a spotter, he can take the stairs, and with a little reminder he’ll even spin around to go feet first off of any elevated surface. Dangle dangle, little toes. Then grab the ground and sprint away.

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From his little front room, he can creep up the step stool we painted in the summer. It’s the perfect spot to view the neighbors walking up and down the sidewalk, the garden growing in our front yard, and the HUG farm volunteers checking in on turnips in the right-of-way. He sings a song to them, and sometimes taps on the window.

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Edie joins her brother to look out and to investigate the toys from his shelves. Seeing a big kid handling the treasures is a great provocation; he peers intently at pictures, or shape blocks, or animals she sets down. They talk together in a wiggly body language they both know by heart.

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Every day his world is getting bigger, and it all starts in his own little room.

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Please Do Touch

A Day in the Life, Why

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It’s really really fall now, and that means more indoor adventures. We have a great collection of favorite places now that we have lived in Tacoma for a few years, and the top favorite remains the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. These days, there aren’t very many places where kids can practice making their own choices and controlling themselves without worrying too much about mistakes. We love the Museum because it’s a safe place to take some risks and jump into exploring. It’s full of things to touch, press, spill, climb, splash, pour, drop, paint, squish, and pile up.

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“I like painting and I like playing. And I like painting butterflies.” -Edie

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Our recent visits included some great interactive community sculpture. Above, Edie investigates a jump set where kids have been rolling wheels through paint and down the slopes. We check out the tracks left behind by everyone’s wheels. In another room, a potter’s wheel provides a spinning surface for bull’s eye drawings. Edie admires rainbow collection and adds one of her own, while Rory manipulates the mirrors and light tables nearby.

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Both kids work together on the dials and toggles in the cockpit. Rory throws a switch back and forth intently. Edie zooms in to count the numbers on a pressure valve.

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Rory discovered a new friend inside this under-stairs cave. He pops back out to introduce me and add his board to the peg panel just outside.

Each of our favorite places around town invite us to engage and participate in a different way. The Museum always provokes us to see the world in a new way. It’s so hard to leave, and we can never wait to go back!

Training and Exploring

A Day in the Life

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This year, Edie and I are planning to run in the Black Cat costume run at Point Defiance in October, so we have been training like crazy. Our big practice run this week was at the actual race course, and we busted out two solid miles at an average of 17 min miles, which I think is pretty respectable for a four year old and stroller mama… We have just one more mile to add to our training program over the next month.

Every time we set out to run, Edie whines and informs me that she is definitely not racing with me after all, but a slow half mile later, she’s all warmed up and falls into a steady pace chattering about her current costume inspirations. She cackles and careens like a maniac grabbing pinecones and leafs along the way. Her current kicks are covered with blue and pink swirls she chose because they are “Aurora Borealis shoes;” they don’t light up but they sparkle and they came with cat stickers, oddly. I try to explain about pushing through until the endorphins come onboard, but next time it’s still going to be my insistence that “I will be training anyway, but you can catch up later if you’re dropping out now” that will pull her through that first half mile. I will jog along at a speed no faster than walking, “Just until that yellow sign up there, see it?” and with plenty of walking breaks and water stops. Then when she’s warm and ready, we’ll storm down a gentle slope and she will laugh and yell. This time she screamed, “This is so fun to go fast! We’re almost to the finish line!”

After a good run we try to always use up all that good energy with something super fun and pleasant, wandering through the display gardens or playing at the park. This week we did both, stretching out by some deer and ducks in the Japanese Garden, then swinging with Rory at the playground and wrapping up some wild pirate imagination play.

It’s really hard for me to stay present and engaged the way I always meant to be, especially now with both these little turkeys and their constantly evolving forms of dependency. But when we all get out together, grab some fresh air, silly play, and good clean sweat, we somehow button back up together and stabilize. So it may be a weird association for her later, but I hope Edie is able to draw on these memories, when shared times of burning off stress allowed us to turn a rough week around. That would be a pretty healthy adult skill… Regardless, days like this are the only way to survive this motherhood thing.

November Beach Day

A Day in the Life

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I’m wearing sunshine clothes for sunshiny day. Sunglasses and clothes from Manila. I wish I could do that. Aydan does and Uncle Patrick and Auntie Kim and baby Drake. Heather got the clothes for me. A blanket on me. A sunshiny day. I want the blue sunglasses now because I’ve been sucking on my yellow ones. Do you like my blue ones?

Today I’m am excited about art. After art we’re gonna read a book. Jingle jingle jingle. I want to tell them that I love them: Baby Oliver loves me!

You should put ” stop hissing in my ear!” Who say that? I don’t know. It’s from Robin Hood. The snake, like in jungle book. Stop hissing in my ear.

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A Castle

A Day in the Life

I made a tower. Maybe Mimee and Poppy live in it, or grandma and grandpa. Or california. They’re going to fight with the green. Look, and then that goes there and then that goes there. A castle for Mimee and poppy. They are not going to fight anymore. Now I’m gonna build one for Nana and Papa. Here is the roof.I’m just going to dump it all out, is that fine? I mean…

Dad, are you a boy or a girl? I said that earlier. I’m just a girl. I just have long hair.

I’m making a swing now. That’s a slide. This there. Now fire is going to come out after I chop all the pieces down. Are you going to see it? Now fire is coming out to scare you! This is somebody’s fire. It’s not coming out any more.

I’m cutting the lemonade because it’s not fire anymore.  I’m cutting the fire. You do that and then you do that. Oh, actually you just need that one.

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Maybe a angel could come live in it. Uh! I knocked it down! Sorry, Angel.

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September with Gabe

A Day in the Life

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In September, Gabe was coming to the white house lots. We had all kinds of different adventures, and as usual we walked, biked, or bussed to all of them! One day we went to Sheridan Park, where we ran races and climbed this climbing wall. We imagined it was a mountain, and the friends took turns pretending to be mountain goats with silly goat voices and curled fingers for horns.

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Another day we got to visit the Art Ashram all together. Our friends Kai and Aiden came too! We focused on the color orange with leaf etching and got a chance to draw pumpkins and paint together. Orange is the perfect color to study in the fall.

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A week later, we had a special expedition to Snake Lake Nature Center, which has a beautiful natural playscape where we can slide down a hollow log, use a periscope in a tree house, or use and old fashioned pump for sand and water play. We also walked the half mile loop through the woods. This picture is from when we stopped to check out the turtle vista.

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Of course, every day we also played at the white house and did big kid jobs. Edie and Gabe can: go potty by themselves, clean up dishes, wipe down the table, pour milk or water from a small pitcher, take care of the playroom, and get shoes and jackets on. They also help feed the chickens!

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When the friends were finally worn out, they liked to relax by reading books to each other, or snuggling up to read with Adele. They turned pages and asked great questions about the stories and pictures we read. Some of our favorites are Hungry Caterpillar, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Pat the Bunny. But did you know Pat the Bunny is about Gabe and Edie? Do not try to read it about Paul and Judy. That will not fly.

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Thanks for playing with us, Gabe! Have fun with your new nanny and please come visit again!

Baby Bears and Princesses

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On the first day that Gabe came to play with us at the white house, we decided to take a bike ride to the park. Edie and Adele both really like Wright park in the Stadium District of Tacoma, because it has a duck pond, a great climbing area, lots of parkish natural spaces, and even a conservatory with tropical plants. But it was Monday, so the conservatory was closed. Anyway, we all went out to the bike and got ready to go. In this picture, we were feeling silly with all the safety straps. Right after that, we put our helmets on, because of course we never ride bikes without helmets.

One of the great things about Wright Park is that lots of other kids like it too! We were trying out the swings when we first got there, watching the spray ground fountains, and wishing we had brought our swimsuit. Then a bunch of other kids stormed onto the play structure! We raced over to see what they were up to. Turns out there was a princess with her pet baby bear and her pet cat, and also some flexible performers who tried a bunch of roles. Gabe got a great chance to play along as a dragon, and he and the baby bear explored some problem solving techniques for play land. Edie joined the play as an Edie, which is a fantastical creature that mostly watches princesses to figure out how to do that princessy stuff.

When we all got a little worn out, we headed around the duck pond for some nature and chasing. On the way there, we luckily discovered a squirrel to chase, who led us on a crazy adventure through the horseshoe pits. Finally, we arrived at the pond and shared some snacks. We only shared our snacks with each other. Not the ducks. Because of course the sign says not to.

On the whole it was a great adventure for making new friends, practicing important play skills, checking out our community, and getting used to our routine and rules for working together.

A great book we always like reading after Wright Park is “Make Way for Ducklings,” by Robert McCloskey, which deals with a family of ducks who live in a park pond that is startlingly similar to our own park pond. Except Wright Park needs one of these swan boats:

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Dressing Up

A Day in the Life

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Here’s Betty, and Abigail, and Nickel, and where’s me?

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Where’s my leotard go? I want to try it. See my leotard, I couldn’t find it? I want to wear it right now. Help me, it’s kinda tricky. Now pull it up.  Nope, I better turn it around. The bow, it is in the front.
It’s for ballet. I do remember, now I’m a big girl so I can wear it like my mommy.