What My Girls Don’t Know

Grandparents Brunch for the girls at school. I just got the notice, and thought nothing of it.  But driving to school one gloomy morning, I started crying and just couldn’t stop. My mom would have LOVED attending a grandparents brunch. I mean LOVED. Cause that woman…she was fierce with her affections. And I am just so sad she missed the whole grand-parenting gig. I am sad for her. I am sad for me. But not so much for my girls. They don’t know. They don’t know that their grandmother would have made a bazillion ten-hour trips to see them – to be with them – to breathe them in. They don’t know that she would have made sure they had a softball, or basketball, or tennis racket in theirs hands as soon as they could walk. They don’t know that she would have brushed, braided, curled, and styled their hair. They don’t know that she would have played and played and played with them. They don’t know that she would have rocked them endlessly. They don’t know that her laughter might have frightened them because it was so full, robust, and LOUD.  They don’t know that she would have danced and danced and danced with them. They don’t know that she would have hummed them to sleep as she lovely gazed upon their faces. They don’t know that her hugs would have left them breathless. They don’t know that she would have loaded them up in the car and set off on adventure after adventure. They don’t know that she would have fought for them. They don’t know that she would have loved them well…so very well. They don’t know. But they will. One day, I will tell them. And we will laugh. And cry. Because right now…childhood…they are unaware of what they are missing out on. They don’t know.


How Did You Get Me?

Denver’s questions come in waves. From the beginning, we have been open with her about her adoption. She sees her birth mom regularly, and just this year, she fell head over heels in love with Randee. She knows that she grew in Randee’s tummy. The thing is though…that the knowing comes in waves…followed by the questions.

So tonight at dinner, as I was passing her the raspberries, she asked, “How did you get me?” Honestly, in our home of little people, where games of chase and the like are BIG, “get me” could me any  number of things. And I was hoping she wasn’t asking what I thought she was asking…but she was.

“What do you mean, Denver?”

“I mean how did you get me?”

Eden, always ready to lend a helping hand, said, “Randee left you here,” which is totally not the way it went down. Seems someone watches way too much TV.

My heart fluttered and I just opened my mouth…praying, Jesus, make this good. Please.

“Randee loved you so much, but she was having a hard time being a mama. And she needed help. So some people called me and your daddy and asked if we’d take care of a sweet little girl. And we said YES. And these people brought you to us. Right to our front door.”

She was unfazed. “And Eden? How did you get Eden?”

“She grew in my tummy. And I went to the hospital to get her out, and brought her home. Right to our front door.”

Again, “How about Sweet Pea? How did you get her?”

“Well, you remember this part. Her mama needed help, so someone called me and your daddy to see if we would take care of a little baby girl. And we said yes. And you were here when she came, right to our front door.”

I guess she kind of petered out after that, because she did not ask about Chick Pea. Curiosity satisfied. Whew! That wasn’t too bad. We can totally do this. Right????

Denver — THREE!

Glory be, she is three! What a girl. Denver is a river…deep, wild, at once peaceful and still, then full of fury…ever changing…ever winding…ever inviting. She’s the one who joins me in my quiet moments…just sitting…longing to connect in our unspoken language. And yet, she’s the loudest of my girls. This quiet soul…so LOUD. Not a single moment with this one is taken for granted. All that she is…every glance, giggle, cry, and yes…scream…each one is a gift…because she was born to another. She was carried and nursed and swaddled by another. And yet. And yet. The same loving arms that welcomed Denver to the world, courageously delivered her to us. Denver is our daughter. Our beloved daughter. Our darling girl.


At three years of age, Denver:

  • loves to have her back tickled as she drifts off to sleep.
  • wears panties. All day long! (Still uses a pull up for night time.)
  • embraced her first RV trip. While the others wanted to stay in the RV upon hitting our campsite, Denver wanted O-U-T. She wanted to explore nature…girl after my own heart. She discovered the stream behind our campsite.
  • wants to feed me at each meal. With each offering she puts in my face, she eagerly says, “It doesn’t have wheat, Mom.” Of course, it typically does. Still. Cute.
  • calls raspberries daddy fingers, because of THIS. She puts a raspberry on each finger and sings the finger family song. She even uses that funky accent.
  • shows that she is THREE with her pointer, middle, and pinkie fingers. Don’t know why she does it. I hope and pray she never “corrects” it!
  • insisted on party hats for her birthday party. Insisted. And we happily complied.
  • calls dark feathers “dog feathers.” That’s my girl.
  • shouts, “Get me off this thing!” dramatically. No, she has never seen the Jetsons. It’s just our Denver.
  • lights up at the words Paw Patrol. Thus, a Paw Patrol birthday party with Paw Patrol party hats, plates, toys. Girl cannot get enough Paw Patrol. Her favorite is Chase…followed quickly by Skye. She likes me to sing the Paw Patrol song as a lullaby…which is quite the shift from her beloved ABC lullaby.
  • reminds me daily that we never know what surprises are just around the bend.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we proudly present…DENVER, the three-year-old!


Denver — Two and Eleven

Denver, Denver…how do I love thee? This bundle of energy delights and frustrates. But have you seen this kid? How can I stay mad at her? Little stinker winker. This is it…the last month of two. I cannot fathom…how did she get so big? So fast? She still leaves me breathless with gratitude…this precious one…given in surrender to me…to us. We love her so.


At two years and eleven months, Denver:

  • is LOUD. She prefers screaming over using her words. And really, with three sisters running about, she might be on to something. And boy, does this girl have a set of lungs on her.
  • has discovered the joys of hiding under the table. Not only is she hidden from view, but once discovered, her gently aging parents struggle with the acrobatics required to pull her out. Little stinker.
  • uses the phrase, “You little stinker winker” a lot. Hmmm, wonder where she picked that one up?
    • loves the “surprise egg” phenomenon popular on YouTube. Baby Big Mouth. Oh yeah, some of you moms know what I’m talking about. I thought she was weird…the only one…but oh no. At a recent MOPS event, I discovered this is a thing. A thing! Anyhoo, the girl loves the surprise egg thingy. Yea Baby Big Mouth.
  • has mad memory verse skills. Mad.
  • nightly asks Phil, “How’s work?” It’s the cutest!
  • asked Chick Pea one night, “How’s work?” Cutie girl.
  • pronounces the word crazy CUH-RAAAZY!
  • smooshes her words together…”I’m verHUNNNGRY.” Don’t know where the girl gets her quirky pronunciations.
  • says “can’t share” for “won’t share.” So when she tells me, “Eden can’t share,” I can’t help but answer, “Oh yes she CAN!”
  • calls yummy food “tasty.” It is the most adorable thing to hear her say, “Oh, Mom! This is very tasty.”
  • calls her apron her cooking dress.
  • sometimes leaves me scratching my head. Okay, often leaves me scratching my head. Here is a little example of a conversation we had:
    • Denver: “I want hummus.”
    • Me: “OK, you can have hummus at lunch.”
    • Denver: “NO! I don’t like hummus.”
  • loves, loves, loves Paw Patrol. In fact, we are having a Paw Patrol birthday party very soon!
  • loves pockets in her clothes. Loves them.
  • sweetly sits beside Chick Pea early in the morning. I NEVER thought this would happen…mainly because Chick Pea is a bit of a pincher…and by a bit, I mean “Watch Out!” Anyhoo, they sweetly sit together on the couch in the morning drinking milk. Swoon.
  • plays with Chick Pea more. Again…shocker as these two butt heads like crazy. Yet more and more, they enjoy each other and giggle, giggle, giggle.
  • screams. Did I mention that? Screams. The girl screams. SCREAMS!
  • makes her family complete.

Denver — Two and Ten

Oh Denver! She is so funny and fun and absolutely infuriating…all rolled into a jumpy, squirmy, giggly girl. Currently, she loves to tell people, “I’m two!” And boy, is she. But not for long…which makes my heart ache a bit. She’s not a baby…or a toddler. She is a little girl…so full of fun. This one, she’s our party waiting to happen. Whew.


At two years and ten months, Denver:

  • talks and talks and talks. I just love it. Granted, her “monologues” are often a combination of fact and fantasy…I love the way she weaves the two together seamlessly. However, this often makes it tough to get the gist of her message. Is she just talking…or is she trying to communicate?
  • cries so very, very, very much. It is the age of her emotions being so much bigger than her ability to cope. Anyhoo, we work on identifying her feelings. The one she has down…no problemo…is “I am so FRUST-ER-RATED!!” And she is. The girl passes in and out of frustration all day almost as much as her mama.
  • dresses herself. Her clothing preferences include anything that is Eden’s. And so it starts.
  • she is the first one “out” in the quiet game. Every. Single. Time. She cannot seem to help shouting out, “Ready, set, quiet” after the game has started. This one!
  • call lipstick “chap stick,” and the girl loves her chap stick! Her favorite it to apply “chap stick” and then give kisses.
  • is not shy about voicing her likes and dislikes, “I do NOT like spit up!”
  • has become quite the fish. She “swims” for hours in inflatable pool. She likes to jump in and shout “Cannon Bob!” Cute. I will never, ever call it a cannon ball ever again. Swoon.
  • thinks that fishing is “yucky!” Still, I think she got a thrill out of reeling in a fish…she just did not want to see the fish…nor touch it.
  • cried and cried and cried and cried when her cousin, Kyser had to return home. She kinda likes him.
  • called Kyser a penis. Yep. I will not say that Ky was completely innocent in this endeavor…he found it…ummmm…funny that we encourage our girls to openly discuss body parts. So he took FULL advantage in getting Denver to say penis, penis, penis…culminating in her calling him a penis (which he found hilarious. It was pretty hilarious)…which lead to “We do not call people names.” Whew. Slippery slope…why? Why no names? Why is calling someone a penis not kind? (What if she had called him an elbow? Is THAT unkind?) Needless to say, I was waaaay in over my head.
  • identified every character in her David and Goliath storybook by genitalia. “He has a penis. And so does he. And he has a penis, too.” Yep, all but the poor guy with the long hair had a penis. Long-hair dude had a vulva. Eh.
  • wants her back tickled as she falls asleep.
  • loves the ABC song and wants me to sing it to her as a lullaby at night.
  • learned to play Memory. And Eden taught her. Hil. Arious. I must say this for our girl, she is exuberant in her efforts…joyful and completely unaware of…uh…interrupting others who “follow the rules” (Eden’s words…following the rules!)
  • plays so well with Eden these days. Yes, still plenty of fighting…but oh the moments of giggles…as they have imaginary adventures. Such a delight!

Denver — Two and Nine

Oh Denver Girl, this has been a hard month. I believe it is the age. I believe. Girl whines, whimpers, and cries sunup to sundown. Seriously. There is the occasional scream of delight…quickly followed by tears. Honestly, I am in awe of her endurance. How can a body cry so much…every day? Truly. Likely, she is hitting a developmental marker that is freaking her out. Likely. I can tell, new concepts are clear to her…she’s making leaps and bounds intellectually. I reckon her little system just cannot deal with all the new. Sigh. I hurt for her. But mostly, I want to smack her…cause that whine gets to me…after the first five hours.

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At two years and nine months, Denver:

  • has discovered a new food favorite: prunes! Ewww.
  • noticed that the kind officer who pulled me over was “a big boy.” Gratefully, by the time he got back to my car with a warning (Thank you, Jesus), Denver had finished her probing about whether the officer had a penis or a vulva. When he came to the window, I silently prayed, Please, please don’t let her ask him if he has a penis. Prayer answered.
  • uses “but I’m shyyyyyyy” to get out of…anything she doesn’t want to do. This includes feeding the dogs and table chores. I’ve started countering with “Shy is not an excuse. Shy is a chance to be really brave.” Eh. It’s a start. I’m not sure how to discuss this with her.
  • wants everything she sees. Talk about lust of the eyes! Seriously. When she wakes up in the morning, she wants everything she sees on the way to the breakfast table…”I want that pillow. I want that baby doll. I want that banana. I want that book. I want that cup. I want that cereal. I want that apple. I want that milk.” I guess this is an improvement on “I need candy,” every morning for breakfast. Unless, of course, we pass by some candy.
  • declares, “I can’t turn the dark off” when she wants the lights on. Tooooo cute.
  • can count like crazy! She wants to count everything…and I love watching her learn and explore.
  • Team Umizoomi is currently her favorite show. This might account for her flare for math.
  • she likes to wear her “Pattern Power” dress…which is a blue dress with white flowers. It does look like something Milli would wear.
  • proudly declared, “I have the goldfish in the world…” thought about it for a moment…”I have a lot of goldfish.” Smarty girl.
  • calls the remote the “framote.” Love it.
  • attended her first weddding. She donned a princess dress with rain boots. Stunning.
  • yells, “Ice berger!” when the freezer drops a piece of ice.
  • is in love/lust with my phone. I have to be really careful to keep it out of sight. Cause…as I’ve mentioned…she wants everything she sees. But the phone is a bit different. She wakes up asking for it. Oi. Already addicted.
  • says “for five minutes” for anything she wants to do. “Can I watch this for five minutes?” “Can I have your phone for five minutes?” “Can I get out of bed for five minutes?”
  • sees monsters everywhere dark. Monsters, monsters, monsters.
  • wants to be held…a lot. Good thing she’s adorable…and has a snuggly mother.
  • is going toe-to-toe with Eden, which is saying a lot. Eden has about twenty pounds on Den…and is head and shoulders above. Let the fun begin!
  • attended her first VBS. Though there is evidence that she had fun (photos!), it might not have been her gig. She willingly went, clung at the door, then willingly stayed. But did not seem to keen on the idea.
  • is still our precious girl…despite the whining.

Denver — Two and Eight

Oh my girl. She’s the one that sings sweetly to my soul with her quiet ways. She’s my refuge in times of noise, noise, noise. Ironically, she can be the loudest of my crew…by far. I know I’ve mentioned this, but it bears repeating…she does not have an indoor voice. At. All. But, like me, she can just sit and be content and quiet…for minutes…sometimes only seconds…but that’s better than the others! Mmmmm.

Alas, poor girl is struggling with her middle-ness. Urg. She has started hitting, pinching, and pulling hair. She demands…her things…her way…her space. And she has started to stutter…a bit. All this interchanged with sweetness towards her siblings. This one…she is a deep river. And my heart aches for her struggle even as it embraces the truth…this is her journey. This is her story. This is hers. (What an honor to witness this girl’s becoming!)

Kyser and his wee cousins!
Kyser and his wee cousins!
"Look, just like Randee."
“Look, just like Randee.”
Top of the world!
Top of the world!
Left to right: Celis, Kilian, GregO, Shea-Shea, two adorable girls.
Left to right: Celis, Kilian, GregO, Shea-Shea, two adorable girls.

At two years and eight months, Denver:

  • is potty training herself. She’s had a bit of a setback due to our trip to Colorado. Still, girl is doing this all on her own. Occasionally, she’ll say, “I went potty. Can I have a treat?” Uh, YEAH!
  • loves early mornings.
  • enjoys walks…alone…with Mama. We try to take a daily walk down the street to the woman who grows veggies in her front yard. We check on the tomatoes and the beans. We recently noted that she dug up her squash. AND that the veggie we thought was lettuce…is actually eggplant. Talk about exciting! Oh, and the lady’s cactus is blooming. Lots to see…just a few houses down.
  • calls me “Mamba.” I rather like it.
  • calls any overhanging of trees or tunnels or tunnel-like walkways, “the bat cave.” (Eden’s Batman habit has affected Denver…indirectly.)
  • flew to Denver, Colorado. She did great! (The last time we flew, she screamed for an hour. Ick.) Her explanation of flying, to everyone who would listen, was adorable. “We are flying…like a bird!” Then she’d flap her arms.
  • spent time with Papa, Lulu, Aunt Shea-Shea, Celis, Kyser, Kilian…and Uncle Greg (whom she adores.)
  • fell in love with Cousin Kilian. On our last day, she told me, in such a sweet, sad voice, “Mommy, I love her.”
  • went to her first high school graduation. It has ruined all of us for high school graduations…as it was here. Granted, we spent 90% of our time playing on the steps and at the summit, BUT, we did see Kyser walk down the steps AND we heard and witnessed his graduation. Sniff, sniff.
  • misses out on yummy flavors…all the time…because she will not try anything that…oh, I don’t know what her stipulations are. But if it looks odd to her, it is OUT. Sadly, she has missed out on multiple, delicious fruit smoothies. (More for me!)
  • has learned a thing or two from Team Unizoomi. Phil witnessed this little gem:
    • Geo asked, “Which one is the small coin?”
    • Denver correctly identified “That one on the right.” (I knew all those hours and hours and hours of TV would pay off!)
  • has officially given up the bottle. (Don’t judge. I could not let the bottle thing go. Could. Not. She’s so stinkin’ cute with her bottle of milk first thing in the morning as we snuggle…at night as we snuggle…nap time as we snuggle.) I took advantage of our trip to Colorado to switch to a sippy cup. Sniff, sniff. Waaaaaaaaaah!
  • lives very much in her imagination right now. One of her favorite things to play is “They’re in trouble!” It goes like this…she “sees” someone in the distance and says, “Oh no! They’re in trouble. We need to help!” Then we run off…to help.
  • copies Eden…Eden’s wants, Eden’s dislikes. It is terribly cute.
  • loves to play in the rain…especially puddles.
  • likes to look for worms…and especially likes for ME to look for worms with her. Luckily, I am a BIG fan of the worm.
  • does the Chicken Dance in both slow motion and fast, fast, fast. The slow motion is hi-lar-ious. Oh, this girl!