Lukas has words!
The little guy got a lot more verbal all of a sudden. He’s got a good handful of words as of this month, including: yeah, cracker, more, and of course nah and dada. He makes a sound that is clearly his word for Annika, although it’s kind of hard to render here, but still no mama. Aww!
Annika’s school Winter Show
Annika’s class at school put on a winter show (on a Wednesday, midday), with songs and a little skit. They all had to wear red clothes and a Santa hat -- it was so cute and hilarious! They sang Santa Claus is Coming to Town, I’m Getting Nothing for Christmas, and Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, then performed a skit based on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (which they also sang) -- and Annika was Mrs. Claus! She even had lines! Awesome! Afterward there was a potluck (this time, she and I had made cookies -- no more mashed potatoes), then we went home.
The Nutcracker, parts 2 and 3
Annika’s dance school (SBDC) had a Nutcracker Tea Party to raise money for their production, so of course I bought tickets and she and I dressed up to go to it. Held in the largest studio room, the party featured tea sandwiches and treats, plus appearances by all the major characters in costume. We got some pictures with them, and I reassured Annika that the Rat Queen was just a teenage girl in a costume, not a real rat (“Because there’s no rats that are that big, right, Mommy?” she asked, dubiously). Lots of fun for the two of us!
Then, in Texas, we went with Mamalah to the big professional production at Bass Hall -- and it was absolutely gorgeous! It was a great day out for the three of us, going to Fort Worth for lunch (with Uncle Rusty) and then the matinee performance. I was so proud of Annika’s theater manners, and we all had a wonderful time.
There’s rapid improvement in Lukas’s walking, although he’ll still drop and crawl for speed; meanwhile, he’s learning a lot of new baby skills:
--Clapping: Anytime someone claps or says “Yaay!”, he breaks into a huge grin and claps along.
--High five: He understands the phrase and will lay a solid fiver on anyone who holds up a hand. Next we gotta teach him knuckles and the Sauce Five.
--Games with balls: Roll a ball over to him, he’ll roll it back. He might try to throw it. He’ll definitely chase one. Fun!
Decorating the tree
Traveling for the holidays or not, we always have to get a tree, so we took the ol’ Civvy to the tree lot and the four of us picked a tree (“I’m thinkin we got a winner here, Daddy!” Annika declared). She helped R. with the lights, then we all put on ornaments, including the ones she and I made out of empty Nerds boxes wrapped like presents (a note on that: She wrapped a couple via her own tape-intensive method, then asked me to show her how I was doing mine, and after ONE step-by-step tutorial, you couldn’t tell hers from mine. It is AMAZING how she picks up skills.). And then, of course, we spent the rest of the time the tree was up guarding it from Lukas’s attentions ... heh. It’s like having a large and really determined cat in the house.
Grandma & Grandpa visit
The grandparents parachuted in a few days before we left for Texas, and this time, it really took both of them to keep the kids covered -- Annika with her constant, imaginative games and dictatorial play style, and Lukas with his Danger Baby antics (plus he would lead Grandpa, especially, on lap after lap around the house, walking and clutching Grandpa’s index finger). When we got back, the fun resumed where it left off, with Christmas II, featuring all the presents from Santa, grandparents and us, and a visit from the cousins, with Annika spending the entire day in the tutu Santa brought her. Lukas’s presents ran largely to push toys and other baby stuff, while Annika’s included the tutu, a cheerleading outfit (her request!), a baby doll, several books, art stuff, jewelry-making stuff, Play-Doh, and Yo Gabba Gabba Live! tickets for the whole family (that’ll be in March). But the marquee event of G&G’s visit was ...
The Lion King
Months ago, Grandma & Grandpa bought tickets to see The Lion King at a theater in San Francisco as a special gift to Cousin A and Annika. We had seen the movie as a family, so we knew she could handle it, and her theater manners are good, so we knew she’d love the trip. I ended up tagging along as tour guide for the semi-complicated outing, getting everyone to the Caltrain station, onto the train, into the city, to a restaurant for lunch, and to the theater; then they went and saw the show while I shopped downtown. I met back up with them, and both girls were so excited from the performance -- glowing eyes and breathless retellings of the story, questions about how exactly things were done, etc. They both had an amazing time -- so much fun on their special day with their grandparents! Annika may never stop talking about it. :-)
A Texas Xmas
Since we didn’t go last year (newborn!) or the year before (alternating-year schedule), we went to Mamalah’s for Christmas. Uncle J. picked us up from the airport on a humid, tornadoey-looking 80-degree day, and we set about protecting Lukas and the house from each other as soon as we got there. It was a relaxed holiday, with family cuddle time in our bed every morning, chill time with Mamalah (Annika spent a lot of time in her room, dancing to Nutcracker music Mamalah played on her iPhone), decorating the tree Uncle J brought to the house, A Christmas Story on the TV while we made a turkey, and -- of course -- a dramatic temperature drop to 16 degrees with snow that actually stuck for several days, over a nice layer of ice from the rain that had been falling already! So now Annika thinks it always snows in Texas, heh. She liked the snow a lot more this time, though -- stayed out there with Daddy or me, making tiny snowmen, collecting icicles, throwing snowballs, for longer than even we wanted to. The day before we left to go back to California, the four of us went to Ft. Worth to have dinner with Uncle R and Aunt E; both kids were beautifully-behaved, and it was a really nice visit.
We scheduled both kids’ annual checkups at the same time, so we took the whole fam down for the fun. Both were in excellent general health, and:
--Annika is 43 1/2” tall and 39.5 pounds, a big increase in height over the last year.
--Her eyesight is perfect, and the nurse doing the hearing test said Annika can “hear all the way to San Francisco,” which was especially good to know, considering my own not-great hearing (I’m hoping it’s not genetic!).
--Lukas is still long and skinny for his age, but they did not give us a hard time about it this visit.
--We made an appointment to see an allergist for him a few days later, which confirmed he’s allergic to milk and eggs, both of which he’s likely to outgrow in the next couple of years, but meanwhile we have to be careful what he eats.
--All four of us got shots; Lukas had his 12-month vaccination series and the first of two flu shots, Annika got her last vaccinations needed for school, plus a TB test and the nasal flu vaccine, and out of solidarity, R. and I got our flu vaccinations via shot as well (though we could’ve opted for the nasal spray). Annika is psyched that she won’t need another shot till she’s 11 years old; there are no more vaccinations till then, and she can do the nasal spray for flu every year in the meantime. Yay!
The Quotable Annika
Her, breathlessly, leaping around with hands in claw shape: “Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!”
Us: “What’re you doing?”
Her: “Playing hyenas!”