Obligatory cute picture. She LOVES this sweatshirt because it zips. She'll say "Zippit jacket," and "zippitt tup." Plus, it only looks a little dirty in the picture, the light must have hidden some of the stains.
MT left on a trip to New York last Wednesday night and until late Saturday afternoon, so Maria and I were on our own for a few days. Now, breakfast at Maria’s daycare starts around 8:00 and if you arrive after 8:20, you may not get there in time for breakfast.* I usually drop off in our new schedule (since I started my new job in June), and I have to leave by 7:45 to make the bus that gets me to my new job only 15-20 minutes late (8:45/50). My goal is to leave by 7:30 so I can get on the earlier bus and be on time, but that only happens maybe once a week. So, without MT’s help in the morning, I didn’t exactly get out the door by 7:30. Or 7:45. Or 8:00.
On Thursday, we barely made it, running into the room around 8:20. “OKIloveyouhaveagooddayhurryhurrygoinsideandsitdownatthetable.”
On Friday, we were still getting ready at 8:20, so I had to make up something for breakfast and then Maria grunted out some poop, and I didn’t get in to work until close to 10. I'm pretty sure that the day care workers knew something was up, especially when Maria wore her pajama top to school. In my defense, she insisted on it because it was purple and pink.
* This has happened twice since April, when Maria moved up to the Little Angels. When it does, it just means that MT or I have to run to the nearest café (the one around the corner is called “Bread and Chocolate”) for some kind of muffin or, as its name suggests, some chocolate-laced breakfast bread. Maria doesn’t seem to mind. Speaking of breakfast muffins, she now asks if you know the muffin man when she is given a muffin. But, she doesn't do it in a sing-songy way, just a very curious question, like she is asking if the mail has come yet or if you can hear that noise: "Know Muffin Man?" One other language thing - we went to the zoo on Sunday and I started calling Maria, "Maria Monkey" because she is constantly climbing on things. To which she would respond, "No. No Monkey. Mia Byan." And she is right. Her last name is not, in fact, "Monkey."
The ride to work has also taken on a new feel. Thanks to the suggestion of one of our friends (Anita from Switzerland and a blogger who, although listed on the right as Bobita, has decided to update her blog only once per solstice), MT burned two children’s music CDs. One is all songs by Robbie Schaefer (you can listen to them here, also the lead singer of Anita’s all-time favorite band, Eddie from Ohio
Within seconds of getting buckled in, if not before she is even in the car, Maria points at the radio and begs, "Yellow Bus . . . Song! Yellow Bus!" That’s her way of asking for her favorite song. It’s an upbeat song about a kid who is waiting and waiting for his school bus, which never comes becomes it’s a Saturday. Towards the very end of the song, there’s an interlude before the final repetition of the chorus. Justin sings several lines without the drum beat or rhythmic guitar that Maria likes so much - just his voice, trailing off in anticipation at the end of each phrase, singing "it's dark out now . . . and the stars are out now . . . and the is moon is shining yellow . . . just like you would, bus . . . if you were here, bus . . . but you’re not . . . and I’m kind of mad about that . . . but I’m getting over it . . . and there’s just one thing I want to say to you . . . and that is . . ." It never fails. Maria has heard this song hundreds of times (she insists on listening to this song over and over whenever she is in the car, and MT and I don’t really say no to her yet, unless she’s biting us or trying to run into the street or to drink MT’s latte). And despite that fact, as if she has been personally and deeply, forever wronged, she cries and laments, "Yellow buh-huh-huh-hus, YELLOW BUH-HUH-HUS!" She knows how the song goes, but she acts as if her whole world has fallen apart, until those three bright notes introduce the chorus one last time, and then Maria laughs and claps like she is actually surprised to hear the chorus again.
I'm not sure what she is thinking during the interlude. I actually don’t think that she forgets or has some terrible short-term memory. She has mastered far more complex steps and routines that have been repeated fewer times for her than this song. Instead, my theory is that she gets genuinely upset during that part of the song because she loves the chorus so much. She can’t stand the waiting while Justin goes through all of the buildup, especially at the end of the day when she is hungry and tired. "All I want to do right now is listen to my favorite song, no games, no tricks, no stopping and starting, no playing around, just blast that Yellow Bus song on repeat all the way home. That's all I want. It's been a long day. I fell down, got kicked in the head by Eli when he jumped into the ball pit, and Jake keeps trying to hug me, and the day care pants they gave me because I spilled water and juice all over mine (again) are so small they don't even snap shut over my only-slightly-protruding-and-certainly-not-abnormally-large-baby-chubb-of-a-belly."
And speaking of bellies, Maria made a significant anatomical discovery when my mom and stepdad were visiting from El Paso. She happened to notice that her pooh bear (which is only a little smaller than she is) was missing a belly button. She lifted up her shirt and told my stepdad "Bunton." And then she pointed at pooh's protruding bear-chubb-of-a-belly (no resemblance, though) and said, with curious concern: "No bunton?" Maria need not have worried because my mom was thrilled to have a project. After Maria went to bed (and after my stepdad, MT, and I also went to bed), my mom morphed into the Belly Bunton Fairy. She sewed pink embroidery floss knots onto the bellies of as many of Maria's stuffed animals as she could find, from her giraffes to the Elmo we bought in desperation at a CVS in RhodeIsland earlier this summer, to Ellie (the elephant, obv - thanks, TK!), and all 4 or 5 of Maria's kitties. It took her about a day to notice, but she was very happy about the buntons, not as happy as she is when the chorus of yellow bus comes back, but happy.
Also not as happy as she is about her new best toy ever given to her by her Grandma Holley (MT's mom). (Seriously, the kid has more grandparents than any other kind of relative and we're having a hard time differentiating. There's Nana (MT's stepmom), but everyone else, including MT's grandmother, are all Gamas. Sometimes we get a first name in there, too, like Gama Feebee (my mom).) Holley brought over a blue and white police car that Maria can sit in and scoot around in. I had seen these Little Tykes cars around, but never really gave much thought to getting one for Maria. Silly me. This car is the first thing on her mind when she gets up and when she gets home from daycare and the last on her mind when she leaves the house or goes upstairs to bed. "Play car! Mia car! Play car! CAR!" It has become more of an inside car than an outside one, which is good, because it's a bit warmer inside, there are couches for MT and I to relax on, and sometimes Maria falls down playing with it since she doesn't really scoot anywhere in it. Instead, she just gets in and out and in and out. She loves the "phone," which is really a play CB Radio, but I understand how the distinction would be lost. It's also the part of the car that makes the siren sounds. At least it has a very low volume, or her car would one day suddenly stop making those noises and we would have to lie to our child and say it was broken when in reality I had removed the batteries. Then again, although it hasn't yet, I'm sure this will happen at some point, and I know that the guilt of lying to her will be more than outwieghed by the peace that comes with silencing whatever annoying noisy toy she wants to play with.
Last night Maria realized that she could combine her two favorite at-home activities and she insisted on sitting in the car while watching her "E-O" (her Veggie Tales Sing-Along DVD, which you can order here) . As MT said, it was like a drive-in movie in our living room. I have uploaded some photos of Maria enjoying her toy, although these were outside and not three inches from our television screen. Also, please note the Zippit Jacket making another appearance.