1.  They adore one another.  Charlotte can make Evelyn laugh and keep her entertained like nobody else.  She keeps a close eye on her, making sure she doesn’t get into anything dangerous and alerting me of her every move.  And Evelyn crawls after Charlotte, always looking around for her.  They are the very best of friends.

Charlotte reading to her sister about les papillons (butterflies).

    2.  First thing in the morning – every morning – Charlotte always asks me if she can go outside and climb trees.

    3.  Evelyn just started holding her arms out when she wants to be picked up.  SWOON.

    4.  Donald taught Evie how to give kisses too.  Oh my stars, I cannot take the cuteness.

She asks to shoot her bow and arrow nearly daily too.

    5.  A few days ago, Charlotte told me that her name is “Charlotte Anaïs Rapunzel Serenity Merida Christensen” – Rapunzel from Tangled, Serenity from The Apple-Pip Princess, and Merida from Brave being her favorite princesses, of course.

    6.  We have been slowly working through Cressida Crowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series with Charlotte.  It has enriched her fantasy play in ways I never imagined.

    7.  Also, she is sort of obsessed with Viking helmets now…

Do you see the blue paint everywhere on my porch?  OH DO I HAVE A STORY FOR YOU, INTERNET.

    8.  When Evelyn sees me get out a carrier or a wrap, she starts flapping her arms up and down in excitement.  She will also wave at it, babble enthusiastically, giggle, and slowly and deliberately attempt to clap.

    9.  Seeing Evie in the hand-me-downs that Charlotte once wore makes my heart sing.

In a tree, of course!

    10.  Every time I wrongly identify a dinosaur, Charlotte’s world basically implodes on the spot.  It’s a little annoying sometimes, but it’s also strangely endearing.

    11.  Sometimes when Evelyn laughs she sounds a bit like a squeak toy.  It is awesome.

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Charlotte has recently taken a significant interest in dinosaurs.  The child lives and breathes dinosaurs.  This morning at breakfast she was so busy chattering to me about her toy pachycephalosaurus that she plumb forgot to eat.

If it were a real dinosaur, would it still be these colors?  What would it eat?  Do dinosaurs have live babies or lay eggs?  Do they eat their babies like hamsters?, because her friend A’s hamster ate it’s babies and that wasn’t very nice.  Do pachycephalosaurus dinosaurs fight with the spikes on their heads?  The spikes look sort of like a ring of flowers, don’t they, Momma?

And if plants were bigger when dinosaurs were alive, were flowers bigger too?  Were there bees to pollinate the flowers?  Were the bees bigger?  Did bees ever get stuck in amber like the bug at the science center?  Does all tree sap make amber or only some trees?  Do other plants have sap, or just trees?

(These days, I spend a lot of time reminding Charlotte to focus on her food and not knowing the answers to her questions.)

In support of this newfound fascination, last week I planned an entire day of dinosaur-centric excitement for the budding paleontologist.  We visited a fossil-themed park in Laguna Hills, checked out their nature center, then stopped at the local science museum so she could frolic about in the fossil yard.  While we were there, I purchased a little clay dinosaur egg toy on a whim.

I meant to squirrel away the egg for a rainy day, but I forgot and while I was unpacking the car and nursing the baby this afternoon, Charlotte broke into the diaper bag and found the egg.  She promptly opened the box, found some scissors to get the plastic wrapping off the egg, and figured out how to use the digging tool and brush.  By the time Evelyn’s belly was good and full, Charlotte had made a mess of clay dust in four feet every direction while she meticulously chipped away at it and daydreamed about the baby dinosaur she was setting free.

THREE HOURS she worked on that egg.  Three.  Hours.  She took a break for some grapes and water (“even dinosaur diggers need a snack, huh, Momma?”) and then she immediately jumped back in.  I was under strict instructions not to make any loud sounds that might disturb her baby dinosaur, but other than that she scarcely acknowledged my existence.

Three hours into it, though, she looked up at me and asked for help.  She had painstakingly and surprisingly carefully uncovered about 80% of her baby dinosaur, but she couldn’t figure out how to get the rest of it dislodged and her fingers were tired.  So I took her outside and turned on the hose to soften the clay and helped her work it out.  As soon as the dinosaur was freed from the egg, she washed it off with soap (“because babies need a bath when they’re born!”) and then rushed off to our dinosaur encyclopedia to sort out what she had.

Internet, my grandbaby is a dinonychus.

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July 22, 2013

    -  Okay, Charlotte.  Here’s how the rest of the day is going to go.  We’re going to clean the bathroom right now.  Then we’ll get you bathed and wash your hair.  Then it’s naptime and after nap we’ll brush Hank because he’s a big shedding disaster.  Maybe we’ll fold the dishtowels if we have time.  And this evening when Daddy comes home we’ll take your birthday cupcakes to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to share after your birthday dinner.  Sound good?

    -  WHOA WHOA WHOA!  Momma!  Don’t forget we have to read books and play!

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Evelyn is crawling across the floor to me, whimpering.  She is tired and she is hungry, so I turn off the water and I set down the sponge.  The dishes can wait.  I scoop her up and I feel her body relaxing against me.  I bend my head down and kiss her and smell her and try to memorize this everyday, uneventful moment.

I find that it is the everyday, uneventful moments I miss the most as they flutter by.  It is the giggles at diaper changes, the milk drunk smiles, the struggles getting a beloved onesie to fit just one last time.  The moments I never think to document, to photograph, because I never really think much about them at all.

I love you, I murmur as my baby nuzzles close to my heart.  Evelyn, my wild bird.  Evelyn, my little hazelnut.  Evelyn, my rainbow.  I love you, I love you, I love you.

The words do not seem powerful enough.

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July 02, 2013

This past winter Donald noticed that Charlotte was increasingly speaking to him in French and asking him to read French books.  “I guess it’s time that I took a French class, isn’t it?” he said to me one night.  The next day he signed up for an evening French I course at the nearest community college.

The transition to Donald being gone two nights a week was a little bumpy, but not too bad overall.  I learned how to wrap the baby on my back so that I could tend to Charlotte’s night routine more easily.  And although Charlotte was a little bummed to miss out on valuable play-time with her father, I explained to her that her dad was learning French at “night school” so that he could play with her in French.

A few days ago, Charlotte came to me and asked me for a sword and a shield.  “A sword and a shield?” I repeated, bemused.

“Yes,” she answered pointedly.  “I need a sword and a shield.”

“What do you need a sword and a shield for?” I asked her.

She did not skip a beat.  “So that I can go to knight school with Daddy!  And I can be a knight like him!  And we can fight dragons together!”

(Shhhhhh, don’t tell the guest of honor, but upon her request Grandpa decided to make her a pair of wooden swords and shields for her birthday.)

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