Observing the development of Natalie's personality and intellect is the most fascinating endeavor I have ever undertaken. This is my first entry into what I envision as being on ongoing series of posts (Window Into the Mind of...) that will document some highlights of Natalie's childhood and share a few smiles, laughs and, inevitably, tears along the way.
Natalie takes great comfort in daily rituals; however, her extremely imaginative mind likes to bend and stretch them gradually over time until the end result barely resembles its humble origin. One example of this is Ring-around-the-Rosie.
I can't even remember how it got started, but at some point many months ago Natalie wanted us to do Ring-around-the-Rosie with her right before bedtime. It put her in a happy mood and seemed conducive to good sleep. After a few weeks of doing Ring-around-the-Rosie the standard way Natalie began directing us in making changes to the routine. The changes occurred something like this...
1) Ring-around-the-Rosie standard style
2) Ring-around-the-Rosie with Dotty Dolly in between me and Natalie
3) Ring-around-the-Rosie with 3 dolls, one in between each pair of humans.
4) Ring-around-the-Rosie with cell phones replacing the 3 dolls
5) Ring-around-the-Rosie with dolls again, but singing Happy Birthday instead of the standard song.
6) Falling down on Mommy during round one, and then a request for me to whisper in her ear to fall down on Daddy after the second and final round - back to standard Ring-around-the-Rosie song.
7) Natalie said "I'm the baby doggie, you're the mommy doggie and Daddy is the daddy doggie" thus ring around the doggie rosie was born. The song was barked instead of sung.
8) Next we all became snakes crawling around on the floor. The song was sung and hissed.
9) Last night it became snake/lion-rosie where we did a combination of hissing and roaring, crawling and pouncing. I wonder what tonight will bring?
Maybe someday Natalie will be a director. She always has a clear vision in her mind of what she wants to achieve and is getting very good at communicating her ideas to us. It's so much fun because we never know what's going to happen next with our creative girl.
Saturday morning Natalie and I met some friends at the zoo. We had a great time riding the carousel, feeding the Lorikeets and the fish, and spending time around lots of little girls all within a couple of years of Natalie in age.
The penguins were a big hit with Natalie and her classmate and good friend.
The penguin seemed to be as curious about the girls as they were about it.
We saw part of a cool animal show.
Natalie had her first ever veggie burger for lunch (she loved it). Afterward the girls were looking out the cafe gate at the elephant exhibit.
On Sunday afternoon we went to a birthday party for Natalie's teacher's son who is about 6 months younger than Natalie. We had a nice time, but Natalie was too scared to try out the main attraction which was a bouncy house with a water slide that went into a little pool. I think she was a bit intimidated by the older kids and general rowdiness of the group. At one point I asked her if she wanted to go home and she said no that she wanted to watch the other kids play. Maybe next time she will try it out for herself.
Last week Natalie and I visited my sister Leah (aka Sissy) in New York. It was our first mother/daughter travel adventure and we had a fantastic time.
Natalie caused quite a sensation as she rode her Melissa and Doug "Trunkie"(a combo luggage/scooter) through the airport. She calls it her briefcase.
When we reached the Chicago Airport we discovered a wonderful Children's Museum that Natalie enjoyed exploring during our short layover there.
Her favorite part was flying the plane. She looked so professional as she flipped the switches and turned the control dials.
Finally we made it to NY and took a nice walk with Sissy.
The next day was a day of rest. Our only outing was to walk the dog. Natalie and I were both recovering from a bad summer cold.
On Tuesday I took Natalie to the Brooklyn's Children Museum where she had a blast playing musical instruments, crawling through tunnels, and playing with elaborate sand and water tables in their toddler play area. She also enjoyed playing with these giant lego-like blocks.
Her very favorite part was the food area. First she went "shopping" for life-like fruits and vegetables.
Then she made pizza and cooked it in a pretend oven.
Natalie helped flap my wings while I was playing the part of a giant butterfly.
She drove a bus and directed me to sit down in one of the seats and put my seatbelt on.
We discovered this beautiful mural while walking Stella, Sissy's dog.
On Wednesday we took a trip into Manhattan (The below pic was taken on the way to the subway in Brooklyn)
We visited the Museum of Natural History which Leah and I both saw as children.
One of my favorite things about this museum is the 94 foot long replica of a Blue Whale (this photo does not do it justice). Natalie was unimpressed; she was more excited about the Elephants and Zebras.
In the Subway station about to head to Sissy's house.
Natalie and I were zombies by the time we got on the subway. Nat fell asleep and I carried her all the way home.
After her nap Natalie was ready to play with her princesses again. Stella kept her company.
On Thursday we visited my very dear friends in Long Island. Natalie had a wonderful time playing with A (age 5) and S (age 9). They took amazing care of her and are 2 of the sweetest girls ever!
Nat and A strolling with their dollies.
On Saturday we said goodbye to Sissy, Stella and New York.
During our visit Natalie did get homesick at times for her Daddy, Louie, Katie, her bed, dress up dresses and our bathmat of all things, but once we got home she asked when we could go back to NY :)
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"Welcome home to the Happy Haus" is the greeting I used to receive from Gary when we arrived home from work each day. Gary and I brought our daughter Natalie home from China in November 2011 to live with us in our cozy cottage. In October of 2013, we unexpectedly lost Gary, our dear husband, father and friend.
Our family includes our two sweet Newfoundland dogs, Katie and Louie. Newfoundlands are working dogs, so we make sure our two always have a job to do. Katie and Louie are both certified therapy dogs and bring lots of joy to people who are in need of some Newfie love. They have also competed in Rally Obedience. Katie has earned a Rally Advanced title and Louie has earned a Rally Excellent title. In keeping with Newf tradition, Katie has become a proficient draft dog while Louie prefers practicing water rescue whenever he gets an opportunity. They are also both protectors of their little sister, Natalie.