Dear Margo, You’re Two and a Half

Hey Margo!

I’m not as frequent about this as I used to be. I knew that would happen, I’m not worried. I certainly don’t sit around looking for things to do… but I do feel sort of sad about missing so many “point in time” summaries of your growth. Especially since the stuff you’re doing now and the things you’re saying now are so much more interesting than in your first year. No offense to babies, but toddlers are funner.

“I’m two and a half”

Let’s start with an unordered list of my favorite Margo-isms these days:

  • “Margo can’t know!” (exclamation for when you don’t know, particularly cute when accompanied by upturned palms)
  • “I love you with pieces!” (said to me as I leave your room at night, after I say “I love you to pieces!”)
  • “We have to be beary careful, okaaaaay?” (All the time. You love to enforce and reiterate rules to me.)
  • “Scott!” (Whenever I’m looking for your dad, you’ll yell “Scott!” and I really can’t not laugh at that.
  • “Nobody’s gonna come in.” As in, I’m going to the bathroom (or wheverever) ALONE.
  • “We’ll be right back.” (whenever we go to the bathroom, alerting the others not to worry.)

And a cute exchange yesterday, at Target:
Me: “If I get you some new crayons, will you sit and color with me when we get home.” You: “Yes, and we’re not gonna poop on them. Okay, Mommy?” (looks at me with eyebrows raised, waiting for my confirmation.)

You’re absorbing everything and learning so much. Just last week, you started to really pick up on letters (you’ve been belting out the ABC’s for a while now). Pete the Cat helped you spell Blue, Red, White and Brown. And from that knowledge I asked you what letters were in The Happy Lion (when looking at the cover… not from memory) and OMG you rattled off the letters. With really amazing proficiency. (I think you messed up A and Y – they’re both K to you.) You’re TWO. We might not be smart enough to keep up with you at some point in the future… You’re consistently blowing us away, such a gratifying feeling for a parent.

I (finally) feel confident saying you’re potty trained (you started very early, and we were back and forth for 6 months or so, having great weeks and then “accident” weeks.) Things seem to have officially clicked and you’re doing great. You’re sleeping in your big girl bed, with almost a dozen stuffed animal friends. You love (no LOOOOVE) the Lion King. Most mornings you wake up and ask to watch it, and when I inevitably say “No, we have to go to school”, you say “We’re gonna watch Lion King after school, okay?” Insistent, pragmatic, smart. It’s a weird feeling: we feel so proud and also so scared because you’re *this smart* already??

Seems every time you tell someone your kid is two, the give you a fake terror look and ask about the “Terrible Twos.” So far, I can’t report too much terribleness. You’re definitely more intense… but that means you’re SUPER excited and happy but when things aren’t what you want, you’re quick to melt down. You’ve been a very communicative, verbal kid from early on, and I truly think that’s working in our favor. You tell us what’s up, and understand when we tell you what’s up. I counter the “Terrible Twos” moniker with the “Doable Twos,” at least in your case.

And finally, you’re so sweet and loving, I could just eat you up. Truly, I am taking ever hug you give me and every kiss I can get. We have tickle fights often and snuggle on the couch. I get sad, sometimes, thinking about times when you won’t want to be snuggly, so I’m preemptively stocking up.

We love you, sweet girl. You’re a fantastic, firecracker of a girl and I love spending time with you.



My summer vacation: a series of memories

As we anticipated, our trip to the beach was fantastic. Margo loved it, we settled into a little routine and relaxed. By the end we were sleeping in till 7:30. It was great and I’m so thankful for the memories.

Lifeguards! :-0

We spent lots of time at the hotel pool. There were lots of very mediocre lifeguards, but Margo has been fascinated/scared shitless of lifeguards since a recent pool visit here in Raleigh where she was whistled at and commanded to “WALK.” She got these big deer-in-headlights eyes and stopped in her tracks. The lifeguards at the hotel were equally fearsome (to her). She didn’t get yelled at. One time she was making like she was going to go down a different water slide, one we weren’t standing at the bottom of and I said “No, Margo the Lifeguard said you had to come down this one.” She started crying, and I had to go get her down. It was so cute, and so sad. She’s so into rules, it’s great. Now, if only I could find some of MY old lifeguard shirts… Oh, and we totally got her a Myrtle Beach Lifeguard tshirt souvenir.

Also, the kid loves the pool and is getting so comfortable with swimming. It’s so fun to watch and guide her.

DOLPHINS! & General Beach love

We went to the beach most mornings after a fantastic breakfast at Uncle John’s restaurant. (Margo ordered FIVE PANCAKES every morning… we only actually got her two.) We usually got there around 8:30 & it was often cooler (sometimes even breezy!) at that time and the sun wasn’t as intense. Perfect for playing and dipping our toes in the surf. The last morning there, we saw a bunch of dolphins and it was pretty awesome. I’ve never seen anything like it, just tons and tons of them. So many that Margo actually saw them too. She was telling her teachers about them at school when we returned too!

Didn’t have the camera on the Dolphin Day, so that one lives in my memory. But here’s one of my all time favorites ever.

We ate. Oh, did we eat.

And the kid? Ate BROCCOLI. We ate so much good food, it was fantastic. And the one night we went to the Japanese Steakhouse & she ate broccoli. I was actually sort of torn because the broccoli was delicious and she ate all of mine. And shrimp! All of the sudden she’s trying new foods and it’s so exciting.

Margo became Southern

Well, this one has evened out a tad, but suprised and amused us just the same. At the end of the week and beginning of this week she was adding all kinds of drawl-y extra syllables to things. “Dayad, where’s mah ayh-payad?” (iPad) It seems to be fading as she spends more time with her Yankee parents. We’re blaming our Southern friends that we vacationed with (and luckily they gave Margo lots of presents so we’re getting over it), although we know it’s bound to happen as she grows up in the South. It is one of those things that just feels weird… your kid is going to talk differently than you do.

But anyway. It was a fantastic trip and while this in no way does it justice, it’s a few of my favorite moments. Also, this one, where she’s riding a lion on the carousel. OBVIOUSLY.


Great Wolf Lodge

This past weekend, we made our inaugural trip to GWL in Concord, NC. It was so amazing, I wish we could go back tomorrow. For now, I’m settling for doing it once a year, in the dead of winter when we haven’t been to a pool for ages. The timing was awesome!

But… this was how I felt literally up until today.  (This was the drive home, not 5 minutes into it.)

The Great Wolf Lodge was AWESOME, but the Great Wolf Hangover was very rough. We aren’t at the age where we get to just hang out and pretend it’s summer and relax. Oh no, lots of physical keeping up with the kid to do. Or, as it could also be called, chasing and yelling for her to come back and hold my hand.


It was awesome, all around. One of the most exciting and gratifying things I’ve seen in a while was Margo swimming… we did swimming lessons last spring and she spent a large chunk of the summer in a pool. It’s important to me that she knows how to swim, enjoys the water and respects the water. She ran right in and was seemingly unstoppable.

The place we spent most of our time was a kiddie pool that went from zero to 18 inches. A kid Margo’s height walking in 18 in of water is, frankly, trecherous. The lifeguard in me was resurrected the minute I saw that. It was hard to walk and if (when) she fell over, she’d be under and would she be able to get her head above water on her own? She did fall, several times and I had to grab her. But, and this is the part that continually amazes me and makes me love my kid’s personality, she rubbed the water out of her eyes and picked up where she left off. Not even a touch of whining or fear. Watching her figuring out swimming, walking in the baby pool on her knees, on her hands and letting her legs float… all of the experimentation she didn’t do last summer, it was so fun! She is a poolrat, and I love it!

After the first day, Margo looks at the waterpark and says "Margo do again tomorrow?"

Some thoughts on our GWL experience:

  • For the money, it was exactly as cool as I expected. The room was beautiful, and even a standard room (not the tricked out ones decorated to look like a log cabin) have a high partition wall so that we could actually speak after Margo went to bed. The waterpark was amazing. Margo was able to do most of the cool stuff, except for the big slides. She even was allowed to go on some of the slides on Totem Towers, which say you have to be 42 inches to ride but I went down first then she followed. (FEARLESS, I tell you!) She would get down and say immediately (after wiping hair out of her face bc that thing was fast & gave you a moutfull of water!) “Again!” So, it’s not cheap, but I’ve spent more for less.
  • The lifeguards were amazing. I mean, for real. I don’t know you that you can call what I used to do at our community pool the same thing as this. They were so focused and I couldn’t even wager a guess at how many kids they have to pull out of that kiddie pool daily. Whatever they’re being paid, it isn’t enough.

The not great stuff.
*Note, notne of it was so terrible as to mar our experience or make us never return.

  • Somehow, our kid remained on her super crazy early waking schedule, stirring at 5:30am. This sorta blew because the restaurant didn’t open until 8 and the waterpark didn’t open until 9. We wished they would have opened earlier, it was annoying to “kill time” when we just wanted to play and maximize every moment there.
  • The restaurant was great for dinner (kids eat free!), annoying for breakfast. There was a mad rush at opening at breakfast, because EVERYONE was up and hungry at the same time. Our service was terrible, food was ok. In hindsight, we should have just gone to Bob Evans offsite (and probably will next time).

I’m not sure it’s a bad thing, but a fact of going to GWL is that there are people everywhere. It’s built to accommodate lots of people, so it wasn’t intolerable, but it was something to deal with. Know how I get annoyed with “other people’s kids?” Like when they talk to me and demand my attention, the attention I should be paying to my own kid and their parent should be paying to them? Well, they’re everywhere at GWL. There were also lots of big kids everywhere, even in the baby pool. And they were quick to butt in line in front of a little defenseless 2 year old so I had to pull rank and command that some kids “wait their turn.”

It’s also really hard to take pictures in there… not only is the lighting weird, but you never really have your camera of phone when you need it. In some ways, this was part of the beauty and relaxation of the place: we were’t on our devices constantly. That was a pleasant change, but not many pics to speak of!

My Fabric Softener Ad Moment

I’m kind of liking the little challenge that I laid out for myself that I’d blog about little Margo Moments once a week. I find it both easy and difficult… she does innumerable cute things through the course of the week, but zeroing in on just one to capture is proving difficult. Wait, is that a version of a first world problem? My kid does too many cute things to choose just one? Sorry.

Last night, Margo was a full-on drunk toddler. She was cracking me & Scott up so much. You know, the toddlers are like drunks analogy, right? She was all giggling at nothing and instead of answering a question she’d be like “Where’s the cat?” and then run to find her and then be like “CUP! I need my cup! Where’s Curious George? Where’d he go? Where’s SMARTY!!!?? Let’s color. ” And me & Scott are sitting there like… “Wha?”

(Note: Margo quotes are translated for comprehensibility).

So, we were just laying around. It was fun, and she was just amusing the crap out of me. She wanted to lay on the bed, so we did. (This is one of my favorite requests to grant… because I get to LAY on the BED!!! It’s equivalent to a cookie to me.) She likes to lay with her head on the pillows (pi-yous) and close her eyes and pretend to sleep, which is really cute because she has this big smile the whole time like “OMG, they totally think I’m asleep!!” Then she opens her eyes and says “AWAKE!” We just rolled around on the bed, tickling, fake sleeping, throwing pillows off the bed… it was pretty cute. They could have filmed a fabric softener ad with us, I tell you!

And of course, no video or photographic proof. That would have ruined my pure enjoyment of the moment and changed it. So sad, but true.

Little Moments

Like all mothers ever, I look at my child and think HOW can she be so big? When did she morph from a mushy baby to a walking, talking toddler? And why don’t I remember any of it?

Here’s a walk through my day, which illustrates the unfairness of motherhood. (Dramatic, much?)

A Little Story about Obama
I’m trying to teach her to say the President’s name – they don’t come much easier & more toddler-friendly than Obama! – and I asked here “Who’s the President?” and she says “Momma!” Maybe it’s bc I get to be the President in this story, but it was cute. (Just yesterday, she looked at a picture of Obama and said “Daddy!” She’s clearly very confused)

In the midst of my basking in the happiness & cuteness of this moment, she pulls this. She decides to “explore” what’s in her diaper. In this case? It was poopy. I didn’t witness the crime, but the aftermath was all mine. She pulls her dirty hand out and says “YUCKY” and runs to me, wipes it on my jeans. Yucky, indeed. And I think to myself, how did I get to be President one minute and have diaper smeared on me the next?

So, guess which story was more salient, more fresh in my mind (and nostrils)? With a good sense of humor, of course, the poop smear incident won’t leave me too emotionally scarred. It’s the big stuff though, the gross disruptions and stressful shit-smeared moments that seem to engulf the day sometimes. This just might be applicable to the whole of child-rearing. I want to remember the sweet little words and silly dancing and hugs too. They’re way funner than the other stuff, which I’ll never forget either.

Then I get to chiding myself for not keeping better track of these little cutenesses. Her vocab and skill set changes like every hour and I LOVE watching it and being in awe of the next thing, but at the same time, you never realize what’s leaving you. Like, how she used to say her name was “Go-go”, now it’s “Mah-go”, and someday it’ll be “Margo.” And it’ll be great – because yay! No speech therapy! – but it’ll be sad too because where’s your cute toddler Boston accent?

So, I am resolving to write about a little cute thing she does once a week. A thing that is not a big crazy smearing-crap-on-me story that will have legs of its own and not need documented (already firmly in the McQuiggan oral history, I assure you), but a thing that I don’t want to forget and if I don’t write it down I probably will.

I just hope she can do something cute this week. 😉