Weening off.

She toys with a nipple between her fingers. Her eyes survey my face looking for approval. I repeat again, “no, no, no.” She cries. Large tears cascade down her cheeks. She rubs her eyes. Taps out code on the nipple, eying it, then my face with longing. She hovers close, resting her chin over her hand, turning slowly closer to latch. Her throat catches as she tries to calm herself. “Mommy, want night night? Thank you, Mom. Thank you, night night. ”

She hugs me, resting her head against me. Her hand remains on my breast, cupping it protectively.

“Want teeyee. Want Hot Dog?” she requests, temporarily distracted. But as I locate her channel, she fixes attention again on her night nights. Mouth gaping, she tries again to latch. I recover my chest, securing my shirt. Tears fall quickly. “Peez, Mommy?”

I refuse to give in.

“Mommy, baby? Night nights?”

“No, big girl. Good morning.”

“Okaaaay,” she sings. And she slides off the bed to her own room leaving me to watch DocDoc alone.

Sand and Surf

The tides were high today, waves crashed into the rocks along the shore and carried seaweed, broken tree limbs, and assorted sea creatures onto land. The sun – less intense than in days past – still carried an intense yellow glow that cast upon us. Ri insisted on taking her shoes off, toying with the sand between her toes. She gathered it in her hands and watched it fall slowly down in a glistening cascade as it caught the light. She searched for sticks, and once found, dragged them through the sands creating lines. She watched the water wash each away.
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“Hannah!”

She is a bit obsessed with all thing Anna (of Disney’s Frozen). Elsa? Who is that? Olaf? Well, yes, we like him, too.
So mommy found a very inexpensive Anna dress and presented it to Ri. “Hannah!” she shouted, shrugging quickly out of her clothes and insisting on putting on the gown. We added her princess kit (won at Chuck E. Cheese for a lot of tickets). She took pictures – willingly – in the studio.
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And then it was time for bed. And she refused to take off the dress Princess Ri slept in her gown, holding it in her hands, with arms clamped against her to ensure no one could try to remove it in her sleep. I began to fear we’d never get the dress off of her. And then, the lure of a bath changed her mind.
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Return to Watkins Park

Carousel rides are the best.
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Ri rising

She lays there, across my bed as though it were hers. Arm above her head, other one tucked under her chin. Legs bent, as though she were racing.  Lips pursed, a tiny break between them.

The rhythmic intact of breathe, an occasional rumbling huff, keeps away the quiet. She stretches periodically,  feeling around for contact.  Balling up a fist, she rubs her eyes, then rolls onto her side.

She speaks: “No. Where are you?” With eyes still closed. Just part of her dream, I suppose.

When she wakes, she’ll decline using her potty (but will gladly fetch a diaper from downstairs ).  She’ll help pick her outfit and determine her hat – or helmet – for the day.
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The clarity of her words won’t hamper her insistence to be understood. Hands gesture as she talks in garbled language I try in vain to follow. If important,  she’ll repeat, selecting another way to communicate. Or, she’ll grab my finger into her hand, pulling me as she says, “Come on,” and leads me to her chosen destination.
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Dancing clogs and tulip trails

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How could I miss the whole season of daffodils and tulips? It was a highlight of last year and yet I missed every field update for the Holland festival. And since this year’s weather has been extreme, the blooms weren’t waiting for me.w IMG0283

Hubs and I decided to continue as a trio this year. Setting off early, we drove to the new field location with Ri while the others studied their lessons. I chose a simple dress (last year’s was all custom). And we thought that a weekday was ideal to avoid the crowds of bouquet pickers and photographers. Despite the early hour (we were nearly an hour earlier than the gates opened), there were dozens of visitors entering with us.w IMG0163

The heat had taken its toll on the flowers, many of which were wilting, their petals dangling sadly from sunburned stems. Ri picked her own basket to carry her blooms and wandered the rows apparently in search of the saddest looking florals of the field. And she didn’t want them in her basket, choosing instead to twirl around with her selections as they withered further in her grip and petals floated to the dirt.

w IMG0418w IMG0448Diva knew I hoped to take her portraits. She averted her gaze, turned her head, and sashayed away from me. As the sun’s shine increased, we began a game of chase, coaxing her down the paths between flowers. I underestimated her speed and agilty and she reached me quickly (often before I could snap a shot). Somehow, though, we got a few portraits and laughed a lot.

Ri also picked a sweet pair of clogs and stomped around the wooden platform . Finding a song on the wind, she swayed, and created a wave from her arms to her hands and back.

By this time, the sun had made its climb and the heat was beating down on us. We left without a bouquet, having found it hard to find a new bloom. But pictures? Somehow we got the shots.

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