Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lessons in Exclusion

Lately, Margot has been hosting raucous tea parties in her room. An assortment of animal friends are regular attendees: Clover the bear, Puffy the dog, Bun, blanket, several Curious Georges, a lamb with extra long legs, a Care Bear, Clean Babi, Dirty Babi, and more. These parties usually take place on her bed and involve sipping from tea cups and lots of role playing between Margot and her animals. (In one conversation overheard this evening, Margot said, "That's awesome Babi! High five!" I have no idea what that was all about.)

Two of Brodie's childhood stuffed animals live in Margot's room: Teddy and Clyde. They both look as if they were well-loved in Brodie's childhood, and so don't have the softness of most of Margot's animals.

For some reason, Margot cruelly rejects these animals, mostly Teddy. Several times, Brodie checked in on Margot during one of her parties and found Min sitting on her bed, surrounded by her friends, and Teddy across the room in the stroller or in a corner. "Can Teddy join the party?" Brodie always asks. "No," says Margot. "There's no room." If Brodie persists, Margot gets really angry or really upset.

Seeing as she hasn't started her preschool program yet, I find it interesting that she is already practicing social exclusion. I'm not sure what to make of it. While we try to explain to Margot that everyone would like to attend the party, she still won't put Teddy on the guest list.

This evening, long after she was supposed to be asleep, I heard Margot chattering away in her room. She was hosting another party; note the position Teddy was forced to occupy. (He's the brown bear in the upper right.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

No More Crib!

In the past few days, Margot has made the big transition to sleeping in a 'big girl bed.'

It's been a pretty smooth transition. Since we moved and her crib was dissembled by the movers, I figured she was big enough and mature enough to sleep without bars. (Plus, I didn't want to reassemble it.) Much like potty training, it's gone by without a hitch. She really makes things so very easy for us but being perfectly amenable to all of our suggestions (ie. "Let's get rid of your crib that you've been sleeping in for the last 2.5 years" or "Let's go to London for the summer and induce jet lag" or "Let's move you to a new apartment where your new room is 3/4 of the size of your old room, which was already tiny!").

Since her room is so small, there really isn't any room for a twin bed, so she's just sleeping on her crib mattress on the floor. It'll do until next June, when we will probably move again.

The only issue with Margot's transition to a bed is that Portia thinks it's a new place for her to sleep. The other night, Margot cried out for Brodie, and when he went in to see what was the matter, Portia was sleeping on the pillow and Margot was at the bottom of the bed. Since then, it's been the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: whenever we come home, Margot's bed is all messed up because Portia snuggles down under the covers while we're out.

Anyway, they are working it out, slowly.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Margot and I are back home again, and Brodie will be home on Saturday. Whew!

Yesterday Min and I went to the playground in the afternoon. It was a hot and muggy day, and the playground was pretty empty, presumably because moms and dads and babysitters prefer air conditioning to swampy Philadelphia summers. But there was one very agile boy about Min's size near the monkey bars, and she headed his way to play.

"Look at me! Look at me!" he shouted to Margot, and he swung hand-over-hand easily from the monkey bars. I was seriously impressed - this kid was a good two inches shorter than Margot, but he swung like a monkey and dropped softly to the ground when he was finished (it was a good 8-10 foot drop). Wow, I thought. Is this kid two? (He was four, it turned out, but I see him headed to the Olympics in another 14 years.)

Margot watched, also impressed. She was not, however, ready to be outdone.

"Well..." she said, "look what I can do! I can do yoga!" she retorted (and yes, I think her tone qualified as a retort).

And she dropped into an almost-perfect downward facing dog position.

This is just another example of how Margot is more sophisticated at two than I was at 25.

I am so grateful for her every day, but mostly I am grateful for how much she makes me laugh.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bonjour from Paris

Margot, Babi, and their first creme brulee:

Brodie, Min and the view of the Eiffel Tower from Place de Trocadero:

An elated Min after dropping a coin and getting a bow from the mummy over the Seine:

Pausing for a biere in the Latin Quarter:

Min and Claudia on the bench where Brodie proposed seven years ago:

Friday, August 10, 2007

Where's the Princess?

I must have really been tired when I wrote that last post, because I forgot to mentioned the funniest part of our visit to Windsor Castle.

Margot was thrilled to be at a real castle. She obsesses over all things Princess, and this includes tutus, tiaras, Disney princesses, kings, crowns, horse-drawn carriages, etc. (Those Disney marketers sure are good at their jobs.) In the mornings, she likes to shower kisses on me and Brodie when our eyes are closed, claiming she's waking the sleeping "queen" and "king." So you can imagine how excited Margot was when we told her we were visiting an actual castle when a queen (sometimes) lives.

Unfortunately, we didn't come across any royalty, and certainly no one who looked like Disney's Cinderella. As our visit wound to a close, Margot demanded to see Cinderella.

"Where is the princess? Where is Cinderella? I want to see Cinderella!" she yelled. This continued for the next ten minutes, as Brodie and I tried to steer her stroller toward the exit.

Meanwhile, conveniently, two eight-year-olds walked by wearing princess costumes. "Look, there is a princess!" I said. (Wait, is Margot still going to be obsessing about princesses for the next six years? Ugh.) Margot was not convinced. "That's not a princess, that's just a girl."

"Oh, sweetie, Cinderella must be out shopping for a new dress. We must have missed her," I said.

This worked. Of course, a princess would need a new dress. Margot accepted this explanation. And she's lamented Cinderella's absence from Windsor Castle for a full week now. "Cinderella wasn't at home because she was out shopping for a new dress," Margot reminds us every morning.

Quel dommage.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Back in the UK

Apologies for the many weeks without a post. It's been a hectic four weeks since my last post. And I've missed a few highlights since my last post (including Margot's first swear, which was 'dammit' when Babi got stuck in her sleeve one morning). I take full credit for that, by the way. After carrying so much luggage through the airport, and moving us from a condo to a new apartment in Philly, I might have let my language slip once or twice. Anyway, she's clear now that swearing is a right earned by people who carry really heavy things, thus disqualifying her.

We've been back in the UK for more than a week now and have been full-time tourists since we returned. We visited Windsor Castle, wandered around Notting Hill's Portobello Market, went to the British Museum, saw the matinee production of The Lion King today, sniffed the roses at Queen Mary's garden in Regent's Park, played at St. James's Park, wandered Covent Garden (again), and lunched on more fish and chips.

It's late and I'm tired, so I can't think of any creative anecdotes to note here. But I found it profound that Margot thought the mummies in the British Museum looked "happy," and I was so incredibly proud of her for being so well-behaved at The Lion King this afternoon. She really enjoyed the show, although I skirted explaining death to her when the Lion King dies in the first act - it was just too big a topic to whisper about in a darkened theater. I told her the Lion King was "run over" (by buffalo) and she generally accepted that explanation (we'll see what kinds of questions I have to answer tomorrow, though, after she's had a chance to sleep on it). I couldn't believe that she didn't cry once and wasn't frightened at all. In fact, she stood in front of her seat and danced with the performers whenever a dance number rang out.

This photo is from yesterday, when Min and I shared a plate of fish and chips before visiting the British Museum - yum!