Due to Charlie's young age and Clint's crazy work schedule, Evie and I hadn't spent too much time alone until the kids started school. Since Evie only goes to school one of the days, we spend one of Charlie's school days running around together. Before Christmas, this consisted largely of Christmas shopping and appointments, but now that the holidays are behind us, we have branched out and started having some fun. It has been so fun getting to bond with her by myself. Although Evie and Charlie are alike in a lot of ways, they are really different too, and those differences become so much more apparent when they are apart. Evie is much more hesitant than Charlie. He has always been one to run headfirst into a new situation, but she prefers to hang back and observe things for a while before deciding whether she wants to participate (and, if Charlie's not around, her choice is often for me to pick her up and let her watch from a safe distance :). Because I'm usually busy or distracted when I'm with the two of them, I often don't push her as much. But when we're alone together, I feel like I work with her a little harder and she does really well. She doesn't always join in, but with a little encouragement, she can be pretty daring (all of this usually changes when Charlie is around--she is happy to run into any situation as long as he is leading the way).
It is also fun to get her alone because Charlie is such a big (fairly loud) chatterbox, and Evie's quiet little voice sometimes can get a bit lost. But when we're alone, it's so fun to hear her tiny, earnest voice pointing out the different things she recognizes (her favorite is dog--she gets super excited and gives the cutest little "woof!" when we see dogs ("dogga"), it's a little frightening because she will drop everything and run straight toward any dog she sees; she also loves to point out apples ("abba"), balls, shoes, etc.). Tonight, Evie, Charlie, and I were cuddling, and she reached her little finger out, touched Charlie's cheek, and proudly exclaimed, "Ca Ga!" Miss E LOVES her Ca Ga, and he thinks his new name is just hilarious.
On one of our mornings alone, Evie and I headed to the zoo. We had so much fun running around there, and especially enjoyed the Children's Zoo. I was so proud of my hesitant little girl. She was terrified about riding the pony, but after just a few seconds, she got comfortable and ended up thoroughly enjoying the ride. By the end, she was petting her horse and did not want to get off (ok, so it wasn't terribly hard to get her off, but I think she had a very good time :).
Although we love the real animals at the zoo, Evie's very favorite thing is the carousel. When we walk by it, she kicks her legs wildly and squeals (a signature Evie method of expressing her approval).
My other favorite "alone" time with Evie is at her bedtime. She is a busy little bee during the day and never has time to stop for a cuddle. But after her bath at night, she turns into the best little cuddler. It has been a long time coming, but Evie has finally developed a love of reading and will now sit and read "real" books with me (for the first year of her life, we had to rely pretty heavily on touch-and-feel and interactive books to hold her attention). Her favorite books right now are her big word book, Brown Bear Brown Bear, Goodnight Moon, Harry the Dirty Dog, and Moo (she has strong opinions and will pick books and bring them to me to read). And after we read, Evie loves to cuddle and "visit" for as long as I will. It is such a sweet time, and I just love having this special time with her. I just want to freeze time and enjoy Evie's fun age--but it is easier the second time around to see time passing, because I think they only get more fun!