Yikes! More than two weeks since my last post! How did that happen?
So, let's see. First of all, there was Halloween. My sister and I decided that since our kids are still young enough to wear whatever we choose for them, it would be fun to have their costumes be a matched set. So, Mary and Joseph it was!
If you have ever seen a Mary and Joseph cuter than these two...
Camilla and I had practiced saying, "Trick or treat!" but I was unsure that she'd actually perform when the time came, because she generally clams up in the presence of strangers. However, once she figured out that those were the magic words that would cause people to hand her candy, she said "trick or treat" and "thank you" very nicely, albeit quietly, at each house.
And the whole experience clearly made a strong impression on her, because ten days later she still talks about it. "Wear Mary costume! Go trick-or-treating! People give you candy!" She says it like it's a miracle, which I suppose, to a two-year-old, it is.
Daniel is very different from shy-ish Billa: once he had the trick-or-treating concept under his belt he'd march happily up to each house, say "trick or treat" quite boldly, and then wave and yell "Have a good night!" as we walked away. At one house where we weren't sure if they were handing out candy (light on, but front door closed), he climbed up onto the porch and rang the doorbell before any of us adults could stop him! He is a gregarious little guy.
I personally enjoy Halloween far more as an adult than I ever did as a kid, probably because we didn't really celebrate it when I was a kid. When I was in elementary school I wore my ballet costume from the previous year to the party at school, and then in the evening I got to help hand out candy. (We weren't allowed to go trick-or-treating, but we did hand out candy. I don't know. Perhaps one of my parents can enlighten us in the comments section about the reason for that.)
My siblings will tell you that I am bitter, and they are right. My parents decided that trick-or-treating was okay the year I was in eighth grade, but said that I was too old to go. In the following years, more than one of my siblings trick-or-treated when they were in eighth grade, and even into high school! I was the only one of us who never got to go! I was cheated! The fact that I don't even like candy very much will not distract me from my righteous outrage over this!
Anyway, I've been looking forward for years to the day when I could start taking my own kids out on Halloween, and it finally came. And it's every bit as great as I expected it to be. In fact, in a lot of ways I think I think I enjoyed taking Camilla trick-or-treating even more than I would have enjoyed going myself as a kid, because all I would have had then was candy, but now I get to relish my daughter's cuteness and her excitement, which is frankly a lot more rewarding than a little bit of sugar.
The day after Halloween we'd planned a day trip to Frankenmuth ("Michigan's Little Bavaria") which is a yearly tradition. I mentioned it last year, with links, so I won't bother giving another entire run-down on the things we do there. But we always go to Bronner's, which is this HUGE Christmas store, and we always get these incredibly delicious beef sticks from this local sausage shop. Those were the things I'd talked with Camilla about to get her excited for the day. "Go Bronner's! See lots pretty lights! Get special sausages!" She must have repeated it dozens of times in anticipation, even though she had no clue what "Bronner's" is or exactly what these "special sausages" would be.
And she LOVED the Christmas store, which delivered "pretty lights" far beyond what she could possibly have been imagining. She also noticed - among the overwhelming number of decorations at this place - a large stuffed monkey that rotated on a pedestal, and almost two weeks later will still talk at excited length about the "silly monkey."
In Frankenmuth there's a cheese store that has a big statue outside it of a mouse and a piece of cheese. It is definitely a cheesy statue, although considering the overall touristy vibe of this town I'm guessing they weren't going for the pun, and that the statue is not supposed to be ironic. Anyway, my family has a tradition of taking pictures of the family by the "cheese mouse" every time we visit the town. And in my family, traditions must be obeyed.
Since Halloween and our little day trip things have been pretty low-key around here, which is great. Life is simple: Bryan goes to work, I get my daily writing in, the basic household chores get done, Camilla works hard to both delight and frustrate her parents (sometimes simultaneously), we see my sister and her kids several times a week, and we're all just busy enough that life is full and interesting and not so busy that we want to tear our hair out. I can't complain.
It helps that so far, Two is much more Terrific than Terrible. This is not to say that I don't *understand* why it's sometimes called Terrible. There are a number of times a day (a big number, some days) that I have to remind Camilla to "obey the first time" or to give her penalties for disobeying or hitting, and I really don't like doing those things. But the annoyance of that is far outweighed by the delight I get when she comes up with something like "dat's incredible!" (which she started saying out of the blue last week) or when she leans on me and holds my arms and I suddenly realize she's counting backward from thirty, just like I do to her so often. (She can't count up past five, but only misses four numbers when she counts down from thirty. Go figure.)