Category Archives: Phoebe

Back up to Phoebe’s birthday

We had an early tea party for Phoebe, just in case baby George arrived early himself. But since he was a good sport and waited patiently until June, we got to have a little more family fun to celebrate turning three. First there were presents at home, including a tunnel that now leads directly to a princess tent in Phoebe and Estelle’s room. (Plus lovely things sent from Nonna (including this birthday outfit) and Ginga (toys already in heavy rotation) — thank you!)

Then it was off to school where Phoebe hosted a little party of her own. My favorite is her friend Marta, who seems to be giving a toast. Molto Italiano!

Then it was off to the bakery to pick up a perfect birthday picnic: mini pizzas, cupcakes and cookies. Oh my.

Then to Villa Borghese… Phoebe had been talking about going on one of these four-seater bikes for days, so when May 31 finally arrived, off we went!

And finished the day with a picnic in the park. (Notice, still preggie…) Plus plenty of super sugar fueled play time. Not bad for three!

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Thanks for the birthday presents nonna!

ImageSince Phoebe is expecting a new baby brother any day, we celebrated her third birthday a little early with a few presents — courtesy of mom and Wade all the way in Washington — and a tea party. Books, bracelets, clothes…even tattoos! And best of all, she’s saving her new purple outfit to wear on her birthday this week.


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The highlight of our week

Me: Phoebe, what’s today?

Phoebe: Mmm, Cornetto Friday!

*A cornetto is a flaky breakfast treat, like a croissant but sweeter and less buttery. P gets to have a miniature version on Fridays.

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Sledding in Villa Borghese

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Phoebe & Estelle’s Updates

They’re getting bigger all the time! Here’s what’s new with the smallest members of the household.

  • Phoebe now weighs 13 kilos, which is about 28 1/2 pounds. She’s just under one meter in height (81 centimeters) and at the 50% percentile for her age in both categories.
  • Estelle weighs in at 8 kilos, about 17 1/2 pounds, putting her in the 18th percentile for her age. Don’t let those rosy round cheeks fool you. She’s a petite little lady so far.
  • Unfortunately they’ve both been fighting The World’s Worst Cold for several weeks now, off an on but mostly on. There are antibiotics involved, plus homeopathic remedies, eye drops, cough syrup…you name it. We’ll head back to the pediatrician this week to see about some new, hopefully healthier steps to take.
  • In happier news, Estelle is crawling like a professional now. On all fours, which is something that Phoebe never really did. (Here’s was more of a monkey crawl.) She’s also pulling herself up on everything and even started using the walker this weekend. Won’t be long now…
  • Phoebe has started picking up a few Italian words at school. She started with “mio” which is mine. Thankfully, she’s expanding her repertoire these days. She doesn’t quite know what each word means yet but enjoys rolling them around. Wandering around the house, you can hear her saying: cosi (like this), capito (I understand), braccia (hug).
  • Estelle is getting very agile with her hands. I’ll post a video soon but in the meantime, take my word for it that she claps, waves ciao ciao, uses the “phone” which is her hand, and my favorite, Itsy Bitsy Spider. Now she’s working on blowing kisses.
  • Before every nap and bedtime, we read books together. For a while we were on a (terrible) jag where we were somehow talked into reading 4, 5, 8 books. We’ve been able to limit the reads to 2 or 3 and I have to say, it’s an improvement. Currently the favorites (aka those that Paul & I have memorized and Phoebe can also recite) are: Madeline and the Cats of Rome, Green Eggs in Ham (in Italian), I’m Going to Be a Big Sister, Olivia, Olivia and the Babies, Dinner with Olivia. We ordered new books for Christmas. Thank you in advance Amazon.UK!
  • Phoebe’s biggest news happened ages ago, actually in August. She’s no longer wearing diapers and doing a great job. Initially she had a treat for each trip to the loo (one M&M) plus a sticker chart for those tricky number twos. After earning enough stickers, she got a “good prize”. These days I like to think that changing one less set of diapers per day is reward enough, at least for Paul and me.

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Phoebe’s first hair cut

Well, it’s been two and a half years, almost, and the time had come. Phoebe wears a barrette in her hair every day. But she objects to having her hair combed, every day. She shrieks and cries and usually leaves the room as though it’s a bizarre and new request. Every day. So I thought a trim would help. Her hair would be shorter and easier to handle. But did I dread getting her in that chair.

To my knowledge (which is hardly extensive) they don’t have those special kids’ hair salons with seats shaped like race cars or horses in Rome. It seemed like that would have helped, plus stylists who are used to/immune to the objections of the under four feet crowd. So I took her to my salon, which Phoebe actually knows because it’s near our house and we often stop by to pet the owner’s Pomeranian named Lucy. Still, this lady was bound to want to comb Phoebe’s hair and it wouldn’t be pretty. Or maybe it would. With Estelle in the Bjorn, I turned my phone toward her and recorded this easy breezy experience. Who would’ve known?

Okay, so there isn’t any “cutting” in this video but she let the stylist put her in a chair, throw on a robe, comb out her hair then yes, cut it. And we have a keepsake.

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Phoebe’s first day of school

Yes, school. Yes, she’s two. Yes, it’s super cute. Phoebe has started attending a Montessori preschool here in Rome, full of little tiny Italians who eat, play and sing together for a few hours every morning. Everything is in Italian, which we’re hoping will be a blessing, giving Phoebe the skills to learn a second language even if it’s not one that she keeps up with for her whole life. Speaking of skills, we’ve heard great things about the Montessori method which is described this way on the International Montessori website: “Montessori is a revolutionary method of observing and supporting the natural development of children. Montessori educational practice helps children develop creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and time-management skills, to contribute to society and the environment, and to become fulfilled persons in their particular time and place on Earth. “ Sounds good. And it started in Italy.

So far the highlights are the snack, which happens every morning at 10am. When the kids arrive, each one hangs up his or her backpack on the designated peg (Phoebe’s has her name plus a green mushroom, ditto for her drawer which I assume holds her artwork but haven’t been privy to it just yet.) Then each kid places the snack into a big white basket in the corner of the room. Guessing this is to keep the snack time more controlled; just grab each snack instead of spending 20 minutes rummaging through each backpack trying to find a box of raisins.

Then there’s the “work shirt”. The Montessori schools here ask that kids wear a smock. My understanding is that it helps the kids separate school time from play time or the rest of their day. Plus clothes aren’t distracting, though at this age we’re hardly into the “but Jenny has designer jeans!” phase yet. And for this, I am truly grateful. Our time will come. Anyway, it was too hot in Rome to wear another layer for the first couple of weeks but now we’re into an acceptable weather pattern for work shirts. And someone is thrilled.


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Summer style

This video was taken in Lecce during our recent trip to Puglia and marks two things. One, is the beginning (middle?) of her “I do it myself” phase. Note the upside down sunglasses. The other is the up before the down. And by down, I do mean tantrum. Shortly after Phoebe’s happy stroller ride came a wailing wallop of no-way attitude when we asked her to do something pretty reasonable: get in the stroller.

We were on our way to one of the very few restaurants I’d looked up ahead of time to try on vacation. The New York Times and Chowhound, two of my most used sources, had mentioned Trattoria Cucina Cassareccia as the place to try. So we did and it was delicious. However, it was this episode that prompted our latest parenting decision. We’re not taking kids to dinner anymore. We’re a lunch-only group now. Dinner is reserved for those who can eat after 7pm without crying, a category that I sometimes don’t fit into either, but Paul doesn’t make me stay with the sitter.

Note: no babies were harmed during the making of this video. Estelle is safely tucked in the Bjorn, it’s “Mena” that you see in the seat here.


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She’s nearly two…

And she’ll tell you so! Phoebe’s latest list of phrases include the following gems:

  • I two.
  • Too hard Phoebe do.
  • Love you.
  • Hi Stella! Hi Stella!
  • I touch Stella. I pick up Stella. I help Stella. Phoebe help Stella.
  • I want juice. Please.
  • ‘Scuse me.
  • Buongiorno.
  • You stay here.
  • Daddy want pizza?
  • This Stella, this mama, this daddy…
  • Happy birthday to…YOU! (arm flung toward you with finger pointing for emphasis)

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A good day at play group


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