Friday, August 14, 2009

. . . a serious face

She is tiny, but she is fierce. No rain's gonna mess with her. Nope.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

. . . blueberries at the park

The park ... a blanket ... some blueberries ... and a pretty girl.

Summer, beautiful.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

. . . a need for personal space

This morning, at the sink.

Mama is spritzing the girl's curls with detangler, attempting to remove the stickiness leftover from last night's sucker.

Dadoo is wiping banana off the girl's cheeks and chin, leftover from this morning's breakfast.

The girl is wrapped up in her 'beauty cape', struggling against her parents and desperately trying to reach her ladybug toothbrush.

Mama: spritz, sprinz, spray, spray.
Dadoo: wipe, wipe, rub, rub.

Averie, (loudly, in frustration): "No guys! Stop washing me!"

We-the-parents: "Sorry, Averie. Mama and Dadoo are sorry."

Friday, May 8, 2009

. . . 808 days, 5 hours & 15 minutes

That's 2 years, 2 months, 18 days, 5 hours and 15 minutes if you're counting annually.

Time flies. Babies grow. The tiniest girl is so grown-up that she doesn't even flinch when it's time for a shot. She stands a full 36 inches in her chucks and is nearly a bit less than a pound per inch (which just for the record is exactly where she should be according to our incredible pediatrician).

Her sentences take on more words each day. A few evenings ago, she walked over to her Dadoo who was searching under the bed for a flip-flop and matter-of-factly asked, 'What're-ya lookin' at, Dadoo?'

Though she's always talked with us and her favorite pals, she's starting to talk more with people she's less familiar with. She loves puzzles and play-dough and reading and listening to 'pretty music'. She knows how to work the photos on Dadoo's ipod, and she can count to ten (though she doesn't like the the smallest squared prime number).

She knows all her ABC's and mouths the words to many songs, though these days the only ones she'll really sing are the ones she makes up herself. She likes to read herself books, and she loves kissing Remy right on the mouth. He licks her back almost every time.

Some people say she looks a lot like Mama. Some days she does. But every day, her eyes are all Dadoo.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

. . . a tomato

La Petite Adorable loves to help Mama in the kitchen. She even has her very own apron so she can prep like a pro. The world's sweetest sous chef always washes the veggies properly so they're ready when it's time for chopping, and Mama was happy when the girl agreed to help out with Good Friday dinner.

Everything was going well. Green pepper washed - check. Red pepper washed - check. Tomato washed- check. Radishes, wa-wait. Where's that tomato?

Mama forgot how much her tiny girl loves tomatoes. Here's what it looked like when she was done.

Tomatoes. Yum.

Monday, April 6, 2009

. . . the beach

Barefoot is better at the beach. Even when it's a little chilly. La Petite Adorable had a great time using her bucket and shovel at the beach this weekend, but her favorite part of the day was the minutes she spent throwing sand into the air, into her hair and everywhere. Needless to say, her bath that evening left our tub in much the same condition as the seashore. Very, very sandy.

***Yep. Photo evidence that the dirtiest place in the world is the inside of our daughter's shoes. How her socks get so icky on the bottom is beyond us. And yes, those are the world's cutest Vans courtesy of Auntie Sarah. Get your own copy here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

. . . the affirmative

So much language. It's amazing to watch a person develop, and mama can sort of understand a bit of the fascination lots of folks have with science. The whole 'study-of' bit about growing up our baby-adorable brings new wonder to our days, along with a lot of laughter.

The word of the week is 'okay', though it's inflection is always in the vein of 'surprise' - as if the girl had just realized something, or just discovered the answer herself. Sometimes it's preceded by an 'Oh' or an 'Um' or some other such 'let-me-think-for-a-second' kind of vowel-consonant combination, but it is always said with a happy and sort of astonished smile. And it always means a happy 'yes'. We-the-parents like it.
Mama: "Averie, would you like a tomato?"
Averie: "Oh, okay!!! Yeah! May-toh, Mama!" (big smile)
Dadoo: "Averie, how about we go get a dry diaper and then wash hands?"
Averie: " Ummm. Okay!! Yeah! Okay, Dadoo! Okay! "(big smile)

Also overheard this weekend during a trip to the local wildlife center:
Dadoo: "We have to go fast, Averie. Can you walk faster?"
Averie: "No."
Dadoo: "Do you want me to carry you?"
Averie:" No."
Dadoo: "Ok, then, would you like to ride in the stroller?"
Averie: "No." (Pauses. Thinking) " Oh! I know! Run! Run, Dadoo!" (running ensues)
How cute is this? Oh! I know! It's the . . . well, of course, you know!

Monday, March 2, 2009

. . . lotsa language

There are lots of new words here at Chez Adorable as our tiny toddler finds new ways to express herself and alert us to all that she sees and experiences.

A walk two weeks ago took we-the-family past a small, yappy dog's residence. 'Puppy!' the girl cried as the little, wildly-barking dog ran up to us. 'Chihuahua' said Mama as we continued our walk.

A walk a few days later took us past the same residence with the same little, wildly-barking dog. 'Kih-wah-wah! Kih-wah-wah!' the girl shouted as we continued our walk. 'Bye, bye, kih-wah-wah!' she said. "!!!!" said Mama & Dadoo to each other, speechless as we realized she remembered.

Other words, bigger words, words with more and more syllables are joining her vocabulary. 'Humidifier' is a recent favorite, along with 'negotiable' - as in 'Putting your jacket on before you go outside is non-negotiable'.

The biggest language change, though isn't just the sheer volume of new words the toddler is learning. It's more about the way she uses them. These days there are very few of those baby-type phrases spoken. These days, it's all about a multitude of words, all the ones she knows that are relevent to the current situation, pouring out into as many sentences as she thinks it takes to explain herself to us.

'Mama, Dadoo fix milk for Averie. Dadoo come see us milk.' ... 'Dadoo, one, two, three, four, jump! My turn!' ... 'Come on, Mama! Come on!' ... 'Dadoo! Open. In there. Now!' ... 'No! Other ones! Other ones! Heark ones!' ... 'Mama an' Dadoo, see? Wah-Wah (flower)!' ... 'Hi Wee-ull (Will, our neighbor)!'

And last night, a new line, more evidence that she's got stuff figured out:

Dadoo: (eyes tired, arms covered in spaghetti and cookie crumbs) - "Averie, we don't play with our food. Eat your cookie or I'll take it away. Do you understand?"

Averie: (mouth full of cookie, eyes shining) - Nods head. "Yeah." (In stronger, determined voice) - "No, Dadoo. Dadoo, I take it away. Now." (Cue small hand holding cookie stretching away from Daddo until cookie is out of his reach, meanwhile toddler's eyes gleam.)

Mama: (sits silently, hand over mouth, stunned by the mocking-bird voice of defiance coming from her tiny girl . . . wondering if Dadoo understoond what just happened, then realizing he didn't.)

Dadoo: (suddenly becoming more aware) - "What just happened?"

Mama: "Um . . ."

Averie: "All done. Get down. Now."


Monday, February 23, 2009

. . . Two

It's hard for we-the-parents to believe that our tiny baby is now two. It's hard to believe that it's been that long, so many days, since the minutes we first held her and kissed her tiny head.

Our Mardi Gras girl was born at 9:18 a.m. on Fat Tuesday - a fitting date for parents who spent many a courting day in La Nouvelle-Orléans. Her arrival was the miraculous result of almost 3 years of hoping and waiting - a day of joy for us like none we'd ever had before.

She spent her 2nd birthday enjoying all of her favorite things - including having all three of her favorite snacks for breakfast: cheerios, animal crackers and 'bubble-bubbles' (goldfish). She watched Sam and Ty about ten times each ('watch Sam? watch Ty? watch babies, Mama?), and spent nearly an hour doing 'ark' with her crayons and stickers. She watched her beloved George so many times Mama can't remember, and had a special birthday lunch at Clary's before heading off to see the ducks at the park.

Later in the day, she opened cards (she loved this) and presents, 'talked' to her Aunties & her Gram & Grandpa G, and had a dinner of her favorite foods (mostly red): spaghetti, strawberries, tomatoes, sweet red peppers and grapes. And then there was cake.

Though she wasn't much of a fan last year, this year found our tiny girl shoving tiny handfuls of cake into her mouth. Cake was everywhere, just as it should be.

And just because it was her very special day, the girl got to play rock-star and stay up late with Mama and Dadoo so she could spend an extra bit of time watching . . . George.

The face of our tiny two:

**Photo of our newborn baby girl by our friend Tim.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

. . . cupcakes

After two years, the girl decides she likes cupcakes. At least, she likes the frosting.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

. . . 'big girl' practice: round two

We're all tied up here as we-the-family work toward the days of diaper-free living.
The current score:
Team Toddler - 1
Team Tee-tee - 1

Round one went to the girl who showed poise, endurance and good judgement in keeping the tee-tee in until the diaper was on.

Round two went hands down to the tee-tee, which showed strength, determination, and an amazing ability to spread . . . down the legs of the girl, down the back of the couch, and down the pants of the Dadoo who was sitting on said couch playing 'nigh-nigh, hop-hop' with the girl. Luckily for Mama, she was sitting on the floor and so avoided getting soaked.

The girl was not so happy, and wanted panties removed immediately. She seemed upset, and not quite sure what had happened. The tears stopped once she and Mama decided to get out her 'ruffle' jammies and watch George* for a few minutes before bed.

This morning while she was getting dressed, she asked to wear her 'pannies' but seemed to be ok with practicing wearing them later tonight.

The game continues. And it feels like progress. Yet it also seems a little bit like a disaster waiting to happen. Mama has a sneaking suspicion that the whole 'learning to potty' thing is going to involve just as much laundry as those early, newborn days. And a small, tiny, itsy part of her finds diapers to be such a convenient container for all the stuff she doesn't want to have to wash out of tiny clothes. It's a mixed bag to be sure.


*This George that we're watching is the 65th anniversary edition and it has a lot of stories on it - including some of the 'Frog and Toad' ones. The opening story, 'Curious George comes to America' shows the Man in the yellow hat practically stealing George from the jungle. Which is bothersome. Mama seems to remember that George was rescued from poachers . . . but she doesn't have the book on hand to check. Anyone know what the real story is here? Was George kidnapped?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

. . . ribbons and candles

Not very many days ago, mama's growing girl requested ribbons for her hair. Mama obliged, and raided her craft stash to find tiny satin ribbons for the toddler's tiny curls. Each day since, the girl eagerly awaits the adornment of her hair. Her most frequent request is for 'pink ones, mama! pink!'. Today, a ribbon in the hair wasn't quite enough. She needed one for her wrist as well. After she was sufficiently bedecked, she gathered her candles (battery operated, of course) for some moments of meditation on the (holy-cow-it-needs-to-be-swept) kitchen floor.

In other itsy news, the toddler wore her first pair of itsy panties last night. This big-girl practice run went extremely well with no accidents at all. She wore them for about 2 hours and even told mama that 'tee-tee coming! it's coming' in time for us to race to the potty. In truth, it wasn't coming, but it was good training for we-the-family. After her bath, the poor girl cried when we put her diaper on - she only wanted to wear her 'tiny pannies! no diaper!'. It broke our hearts. She recovered quickly once we agreed she could watch George before bed.

**Editors note: Original title edited to remove '& panties' for obvious reasons.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

. . . self discipline

This morning.

Dadoo and toddler are playing happily together, choosing outfits for the girl's magnetic 'paper' doll, building with blocks, bowling, jumping and shopping.

In the midst of the playing, there's a rules infraction (team toddler) and a warning (team Dadoo). Alas, the next minute sees repetition of said infraction, and so comes a calm explanation and the consequence:

'You didn't listen to Dadoo and now we have to put this toy away'.

The tiny toddler displays her traditional sad face as Dadoo removes toy. She turns to Mama and makes her traditional sad plea for intervention. Mama's reply is that we have to listen to Dadoo and do what he says. The girl nods. Looks sadder. And turns away from Mama.

'Tigh-out' she says. 'Tigh-out, tigh-out, Mama'.

And she walks herself over to her time out space. Where she sits down. On her own. And waits.

Good? Bad? Good?

Friday, February 6, 2009

. . . 25 things

Right. It's not facebook. But it's a free country, and everyone has a right to post their own 25 things. Here's the baby-adorable's list:

1. Baby-adorable is almost two. Yes, two. Two years ago at this moment, mama was on mandatory bed-rest waiting, waiting, waiting for the girl to arrive. She didn't arrive for another fourteen days. It was a long wait.

2. As we-the-family near this second year milestone, we realize that our 'baby' is no longer such. And we are excited about how she's grown. And we are sad about how quickly she's grown. And we love her more than ever.

3. The sweetest girl talks a lot. This morning while getting dressed, she said, 'Mama, shoes on and watch George. Socks on and watch George.' After the socks and shoes were on, she sat down on the floor and said, 'Mama, sit down! Avie sit down, too, Mama.' More words come every day and every day she forms them into longer sentences. Lately, she can't talk enough of the 'Helicopter big, Mama. Helicopter orange an' white, Dadoo. Big. Up in sky'.

4. Baby-healthy eats her veggies. She loves peas and broccoli best, but also eats cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms with garlic. She does not like lettuce or radishes, but will eat spinach if it's cooked with lemon and garlic.

5. Like every other toddler, the tiny girl loves animals. She's especially loving her sea creatures bath tub animals. Last night during her bath she made sure she got them all clean. 'Wash cow's 'gi-nah, Mama. Wash dol-feen's bum, too.'

6. As you may have surmised from #5, the girl can name nearly all her body parts. We-the-parents didn't skip any, though we struggled with what to call the, ahem, lady parts. We decided to call them what they are. And she does.

7. Baby-polite is mostly good about using her manners. She most often forgets the word, 'please', but nearly always says 'thank you'. We-the-parents are working on demonstrating this more ourselves.

8. Averie loves shoes. She loves her black boots and will even wear them over her footed pajamas. She's started to request specific footwear in the mornings. Yesterday it was imperative that she wear her 'purple ones, Mama'.

9. She 'reads'. More accurately, she's memorized her books, and will sit on the floor and recite them to herself. She even laughs at the appropriate spots - especially the 'oops!' in Blue Hat, Green Hat.

10. Dadoo's ipod is a recent favorite and she will sit and listen to it as long as we let her. The earbuds are too big for her ears, and they fall out if she moves. When this happens, she always says, 'uh-oh song! uh-oh song!' until we realize the problem and put them back up to her ears. She still loves electronica and sometimes listens to a chill house mix before bed.

11. Another of her favorite toys is a stick she picked up in the yard with her Dadoo. It currently resides inside the house, next to the front door. She carries it around like a staff and is strangely very careful with it.

12. She likes to eat cheese, but has recently begun demanding that it be placed in the direct center of her flat, fingers-out, palm up hand. As soon as she stuffs one piece in her mouth, she extends her palm and taps it with the other hand, almost as if she's asking for some cash. We-the-parents laugh every time she does it.

13. Though she's never been a big fan of meat, we've recently discovered that she will eat nearly anything if it's covered in ketchup. Appropriately, "Chicken & ketchup" is now a menu staple here at Chez-bebe. A good thing for the protein department but bad timing with the recent mercury issues. The great news is that any red sauce passes as 'ketchup' in the world of our toddler, so we often have chicken and (red curry) ketchup, or (sausage) chicken and (tomato sauce) ketchup. This does not work with shrimp.

14. Baby-freshest loves to brush her teeth. Every morning she stands on a chair and brushes her teeth while mama puts her hair into pony-tails. She always requests Dadoo's assistance with the 'top ones, Dadoo!', and she always demands that we turn the water on 'loud'. After she brushes her teeth, she wants make-up.

15. She asked for ribbons in her hair. Mama gave them to her, although a part of Mama's pinky was trimmed off in the process of cutting the ribbons. The tiny girl wore them all day without pulling them out.

16. She does not like snow peas, sippie cups, apple skins, rinsing her hair or having her curls touched.

17. She loves salsa, crayons, pretzels, jumping , singing and tickling her parents, her cat and herself.

18. Baby-sweetheart is friendly. When we pass other children on the street, at the park or in a store, she always says, 'Hi friends! Hi!'. She also loves babies, though she identifies any toddler her own size or smaller as a 'be-be'.

19. Averie has never tasted peanut butter. With the current peanut problem, mama thinks it may be a bit longer before she does.

20. Though she doesn't like many sweets, she loves scones, lemon pound cake and animal crackers. The two former are usually 'treats' from Starbucks. The latter we carry with us everywhere.

21. During her recent illness she refused almost all food and drink. In an act of desperation, Mama gave her a candy-cane. She loved it and carried it around for an entire day before it mysteriously disappeared around dinnertime. The experiment didn't turn out too badly, though it made an incredibly sticky mess of her hair.

22. She is getting taller and has an unbelievable reach. She has also begun to remember things - like what Mama used to cut the flowers (scissors) and where Mama keeps them (the very back of the kitchen drawer). This combination of increased height, reach and memory is resulting in an all new design for child-proofing our home as well as many 'how did you get that?' moments.

23. She acts much older than her age, and sometimes we-the-parents forget that she's still not quite two. We are often surprised to see her doing something we associate with a toddler . . . and then we have to stop and remind ourselves that she is a toddler. This was the case during last night's dinner when she took a huge drink from her adult-sized glass with ease, carefully set the glass back on the table and then slowly let all of the bright red juice dribble out of her tiny lips, down her neck, under her bib and onto her just-bleached-clean-by-mama-white-shirt.

24. When she was a little younger, she called her pet cat 'Waddy'. His name is Rèmy. Not too many days ago, she heard her Dadoo call him 'Rem'. She picked up on it immediately and now refers to him as either 'Rem' or Rèmy. Part of us is sad that she's outgrown her mispronunciation. We-the-parents are thinking of amending his name.

25. She's really, really good at going to bed. She's really, really good at telling us when she's tired. And when she's tired, and ready to go to bed, she doesn't want to mess around with it. She wants to get her jammies on, have some milk and get to her pillow. But it's important that she also have her bear, bear's blanket, her blanket, her 'udder blinkit, Mama', her lady-bug, her music, her 'Amal-sounds' book and her 'Hippo book'. Once all this is in place, she's off to dream. With no fuss. We are thankful.

***Mama wishes to note that baby-brilliant realizes that it is indeed the cow (and not the bull) that has a 'gi-nah'. Additionally, we stole borrowed the word 'bum' from our friends because it sounds so sweet coming out of their older son's mouth. And, we didn't like the sound of the word 'butt' coming out of our daughter's tiny little lips. ***

Friday, January 23, 2009

. . . some comfort

Sometimes, all you need to feel a little better is your 'Dadoo', your polka-dot coat, some stickers and an iPod. Sometimes, you need a flower.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

. . . still more germs (*now in even more places*)

The update at baby-so-sick's afternoon doctor's appointment is that the gunk has now moved into her little ears. Ears which only 8 days ago were symptom free. Ears that have had multiple problems in the past. Teeny, tiny, soft little ears that are now gunky, icky, 'bulging' as her pediatrician termed it, with goo.

The poor girl was such a sweetie at the doctor's, and even while she and mama waited at her favorite store for her new prescriptions. She was a trooper after dinner when her Dadoo gave her the one-two punch of medicine on top of the earlier Tylenol. She even helped pick up her new box of Crayons after it mysteriously emptied itself across the living room floor.

And talk about good, she went to bed with only a few tears, once again missing out on her normal, favorite bedtime milk (no dairy with the violent poo). Granted, she did need both her 'Animal Sounds' book and her 'Hippo' book to do it, but still. All of this from a itsy little thing filled to the brim with, well, that green stuff.

Mama (& Dadoo, too) is so proud of her baby-sweetest. But mostly, Mama just feels so bad that she keeps getting worse. She seems so very small to be so sick for so long. Here's hoping that these new medicines can do the trick, and quickly.

. . . more germs

The house is a germy mess. The child is an even germier germ-generator (say that ten times fast) who makes germs faster than this mama can clean them up. The mama is quickly becoming germier herself, what with an increasingly sore throat, stuffy head and achy ears. The Dadoo is looking a little bit tired. Not grey yet, thank goodness, but certainly paler than days past.

The sick-in continues here at Chez-icky-yuck as we-the-family mark the thirteenth (count 'em, that's a one-three) day of the seige. Our defenses are battered, our noses are sore, our eyes are puffy. And this morning, the girl's eyes were sealed shut with more of the green gunk. It. is. so. fun. here.

Last night, however, was even better. Last night, we-the-parents had the joy of experiencing the return (ladies and gentlemen - hold on to your hats), of the violent poo. And by return, mama means the absolute explosion. Neither Dadoo nor mama could've foreseen such an incredible experience in our future. We naively thought that since our sweet girl is so much older now, those poos were a thing of the past. We, as last night proved, were very much mistaken.

The hero of this story is Dadoo, who thankfully noticed a not-so-subtle-hint of fragrance coming from the nursery nearly an hour and a half after the girl was in bed. We-the-parents thought we'd prepared for the worst, and yet, once again, were amazed to find ourselves woefully lacking in imagination. Suffice it to say that a complete bed and pillow change, a bath for baby and mama and new jammies were in order. Along with some bleach and a lot of Desitin.

The girl was unbelievably happy at being awakened from her deep slumber, and surprisingly not one bit upset that she was covered in ick and being quickly stripped of her warm (stinky) sleeper. She laughed her way through a bath, snuggled with Dadoo for a few minutes and cried for only half a minute when she was placed back into her crib. All in all, a fairly decent ending to a truly not-so-pleasant beginning.

Still, hope has not vanished here in the middle of the ickiness, and Mama believes that the days of wellness are coming, if not near. The sun is shining after all, and surely that's a sign.

Monday, January 19, 2009

. . . the icky yucks

Days and nights have been mixed a bit here in the world of toxic green, leaving we-the-parents tired and our poor toddler weary as well. The girl's been sick for over a week now with what began as a teeny tiny cough, moved into a stout cold and has recently emerged in a new form that has invaded her eyes.

Baby-starving refuses food (even her favorites like pizza and cheese) and despairs of nearly all liquids, though Mama is pleased to report that the thirsty babe drank 5 oz of Vitamin water before her nap began this afternoon.

We have not seen the likes of this much sheet-washing or this little solid sleep since her newborn days, and suffice it to say, both Mama and Daddy are feeling a bit sluggish themselves. The saddest part of it all, however, is watching the girl's discomfort. Her tired, red, runny eyes, her matted lashes, her chapped cheeks (from the endless rivers pouring from her nose), her hot face and sad little frown - all of these combine to break our heart.

She could be getting better, she could be getting worse. It's hard to tell which is happening. We only know that our Puffs Plus usage has skyrocketed over the last week and shows no signs of slowing. At least we're supporting a small part of the economy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

. . . a prayer

For Noah and Julie.

For their families.

For the gift of the life of Magdalena Grace.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

. . . the ninth day of Christmas

That's ladies dancing, for those of you racking your brains for the ninth verse of one of the best ever Christmas songs.

And ladies dancing it is these days as our baby-adorable becomes more adept at her pliés and pirouettes. The last weeks have been a blur of turkey and music and lights and family, all infused with the laughter of our twirling toddler who has been more than pleased to execute her ballet positions for anyone willing to watch. She had plenty an audience with visits from both sets of grandparents, three of her Aunties and her Uncle Tony who, bless his heart, willingly worked the same puzzle 32 times in a row - just to keep a smile on the face of his niece.

Our second Christmas with baby-sweetheart was filled with wonder for all of us. We-the-family spent nearly every night driving around to see the 'wi-iiights' and the angels ('bye-bye an-johs' was a sweet and sad refrain as we passed any such display on the road). The girl attended her first Christmas party, and had a chance to play 'Secret Santa' for her friend. There were cookies and treats and presents and 'toh-eese' and tickles and hugs and singing and so much laughter that Mama doesn't know enough words to describe it all - the sheer joy of celebrating with a girl who just sees it and experiences everything with a sense of amazement and happiness.

The Brilliant Babydaddy (dubbed Dadoo by the girl) chose our tree-theme this year, and Mama declares it to be the best idea ever. Since the baby-brilliant loves looking for letters everywhere she goes, Dadoo decided we should deck-the-tree with the ABCs. A little planning, two cans of spray paint, three rolls of ribbon and 26 staples later, our alphabet ornaments were born. We-the-parents decorated the tree during an afternoon naptime, and when the sweetest girl woke from her nap, she ran to the tree with her bear, smiling and calling out each letter to us - 'A, Dadoo! A! Y, Mama! Y! Y! Y! - over and over and over. She still does it, and every morning before breakfast, her first words are, 'Tree dark, Dadoo. An-johs dark. Lights!'

Here she is, fresh from that day's nap, checking out her tree. And as we move closer to Twelfth Night, we-the-family hope your holidays and new year are merry, merry, merry.