Miriam has been sucking on her fingers a lot recently—her whole hand, in fact. She's also been grumpy. It's possible she's teething, but when I asked her about this she denied it.
"Then why are your fingers in your mouth?" I questioned.
"Tastes yummy," she told me. "Fingers taste yummy."
I also checked in her mouth for any signs of teething and found no evidence of such a thing, which is nice because if history has any lesson for me it's probably that Miriam is not a graceful teether. The part I'm worried about is her grumpiness—perhaps that's just Miriam getting her twos on because her second birthday is just around the corner. Let's hope it's instead that it's just a passing thing.
My brother Patrick has been working long hours recently. His mission with the LDS Motion Picture Studio ended last week and since then they hired him on as an actor in a film they're doing. I believe he worked 47 hours in 3 days this week. He came over today so that I could rub his back because he's been so stressed out (from working too hard, probably) that he's been getting tension headaches. I'm not a masseuse or anything but my mom says I have magic hands.
She happened to say this today in front of Rachel, who was having a bit of a rough day. When my mom left to run some errands, she took Rachel with her. One of the errands was picking more tomatoes from the garden to bring them back home to us so that we could make homemade spaghetti sauce. While they were in the backyard my mom noticed part of a tree growing back—the tree was cut down a while ago and, like most trees, is pretty intent on surviving so keeps sending shoots back up.
My mom was tugging at this shoot but couldn't get it to come up so Rachel grabbed a hold of it and yanked with all her might and the shoot came out, roots and all. When my mom expressed her surprise, Rachel explained, "That's because I've got magic hands like my mom!"
The girls made a huge mess of their room today. When Rachel was having enforced "alone time" in her room (it's somewhat different from a timeout) she dumped out the blocks and the stuffed animals, took the blankets off her bed and made a fort, and I'm not even sure what else she had going on in there. When Rachel had centered herself and turned into a saner, happier child, she came out of her room leaving the mess behind her (and taking some of it downstairs with her).
Miriam apparently went in and built a tower with the blocks that was at least a dozen blocks high.
"Was anyone else playing in the girls' room today?" Andrew asked.
"What do you mean?" I asked. Could he have worded it any more creepily? I think not. "Besides Rachel and Miriam, no."
"It's just...there's this tower in there that Rachel says she didn't build. Both she and Miriam claim that Miriam built it but it just doesn't seem possible. I mean, the architecture was...well thought out."
I had seen the tower earlier in the day and also assumed that Rachel must have built it. But apparently it was Miriam—she said it was the temple.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of it because after dinner Andrew asked the girls to clean up their room and they actually set about doing it. They put away the stuffed animals and Andrew helped them make their beds. They cleaned up the toys and found the box for the blocks (which had been carted downstairs), which was kind of an ordeal since Rachel didn't want to go downstairs by herself because it was too dark and scary. I told her she could turn on the lights but she insisted it was still far too scary. I insisted that I was cleaning the kitchen and hadn't been the one that had taken the box downstairs and that I knew she could do this brave thing and that I'd totally have her back if anything bad happened to her. She was still trying to get up the nerve to dash down the stairs when Miriam came into the kitchen.
"Hey, Miriam," she sang, "Want to come downstairs with me? You can go first. It's not scary!"
So naive Miriam led the way down the stairs into the dark and scary basement and Rachel turned the lights on for them so they could find the block box. It reminded me of Patrick and Josie, the fearless duo. Only he was five and she was a baby and he'd carry her downstairs so that he wouldn't have to go alone.
Anyway, the girls shut their bedroom door so that they could surprise me by cleaning up the rest of their room while I wasn't looking. From behind their door I could hear them hard at work. Then I heard their working noises being replaced by urgent whispers.
"Okay! Now sit like this—criss-cross applesauce—and we'll tell Mommy to come in!"
"No, not like that! Like this! See your legs are still straight. That's not right! Do it this way!"
"No! Miriam! You have to bend your legs like mine and tuck them under..."
I interrupted their whisperings by knocking on the door. "I'm coming in!" I said.
"Surprise!" Rachel said, "We cleaned our room!"
I acted surprised because Rachel doesn't quite understand surprises yet so I'm never really surprised.
"I'm going to surprise you by doing my jobs without crying!" she'll tell me. Or, "I'm making a Mother's Day surprise for you and it's a box and it's going to be so cool so be surprised!"
Yeah. I'll work on being more surprised.
Anyway, they did a beautiful job, even if their Daddy did have to help them a little, and they were so pleased with themselves. I'm so grateful for these cute girls (and their cute Daddy).
Sometimes I wish I could capture every smile, every accomplishment, every moment.
Well, okay, maybe not every moment.
But this moment. I want this moment etched in stone somewhere—my girls, working together to accomplish something and feeling that happy feeling you get when you know you've done a job well.
I'm too lazy to chisel that out anywhere so typing it on the computer will have to do.