Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sarah and the orange crayon

Sarah drew me a picture today, all by herself. She found the paper, she found the crayons, and she opened the box without help:

Masterpiece, isn't it? I have this vision of someday getting frames for my kids' artwork, and having a place on the wall to show it all off, along with a small card to the right of each piece:

orange crayon and scratch paper
private collection

(This may actually be an indication that I need to find a paying job back in the arts world and let my kids be kids.)

It is a pumpkin, apparently. Sarah showed me the picture and I said, "That's beautiful, Sarah! So much orange! Is it a pumpkin?"


"Or maybe spaghetti. Is it spaghetti?"

"No no no."

A few minutes later she was in the playroom, working hard at something important in the play kitchen, and she showed me the dishes she had put in the oven.

"Is that dinner? What are you making me, Sarah?"

In answer, she pointed out of the room, then led me back to the dining room where her drawing was still out on her little table. She put her finger down on the paper.

"Pumpkin? Are you making me pumpkin?"


Free handbags!

Seriously...it's turning out to be quite the good day. Beth learns the macarena, Sarah draws me a picture, we decide to get Beth night potty-trained for once and for all...and now this: Handbag Planet giving away a handbag an hour as a site launch gimmick (and viral marketing campaign, which I totally respect). On the delight-o-meter, this is like Piperlime without the pesky do-I-wear-an-8 1/2-or-a-9? dilemma.

"The library is not a shrine for the worship of books." — Norman Cousins

(Good thing, too. I'd get kicked out.)

Do I have a significant, thought-provoking, fodder-for-good-discussion book I should read for my book group? Well, yeah. It's The Preacher's Daughter by Beverly Lewis, in case you're interested (and I am, I really am). Did I check it out while we were at the library today? Um, no. The hour we were there was all in the kids' section: storytime with a good dose of songs and dances, and some time on the computer so Beth could have a multimedia Tomie de Paola experience, and some looking at and waving to the turtles, Overdue and Renewed.

The following falls under the category of either Tragically Hip Mamahood or Spectacularly Bad Parenting...but I just couldn't help myself. We checked out a stack of kids' CDs, including "Sesame Street Hot! Hot! Hot! Dance Songs." Last song on the CD? The Macarena, Muppet-style. Beth can now do the dance, after a (decade-old) fashion.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sarah's new word, and budding candy addiction

I was standing at the kitchen counter the other day when Sarah came up to me.

"Mama? Mama? Emanem." Expectant look.

Emanem! I can add a new word to her scant and oddly selective repertoire: elbow, okay, me. This is the child who understands everything we say but doles out her own words like a miser parting with shiny new quarters. But she loooves food, and she knows I keep M&Ms in the cupboard (and, failing that, always a Costco-sized bag of chocolate chips).

I opened a brand-new bag of peanut butter M&Ms and gave her one. I figured I should encourage her in her attempts to verbalize her wants. And, you know, the look on your kid's face when you give her chocolate? Priceless.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blue caboose

Scott got an e-mail this week from a Bentley administrator inviting faculty and staff on a train ride. Specifically, a ride on a restored 1913 (or thereabouts) Boston & Maine wooden caboose. Bring the kids, food on board, etc. It's a two-hour ride up to New Hampshire where the train is, but we figure, hey, this sounds like a lot of fun. And Scott has always wanted to ride in a caboose.

Turns out? The administrator and her husband own the caboose. It had been damaged by a fire during a railroad strike, and they took the time to restore it and get it operational again, and it's absolutely darling. Bright blue, big B&M logo on the side, shipshape inside painted white with blue cushions on the seats. There are seats at the front, a small galley area, then benches along the sides that double as beds. At the very middle there are built-in ladder rungs that go up to the top of the cupola, where there are two facing seats on either side. We ended up sitting in one side of the cupola — just enough space for the four of us — and the girls happily munched on cookies and sandwiches and drained their juice boxes.

Beth was a bit nervous at first about the open windows (oh my, the view!), while I was keeping one arm around Sarah to make sure she didn't dive headfirst out of hers. But Beth got over her fears:

Sarah, sick of me hanging onto her waist while she stuck her head puppylike out the window, decided the cupola was boring and the main level (and resident Cocker Spaniel) would be much more fun:

She also made friends with a six-year-old girl who mother-henned her quite well, tried (unsuccessfully) to get out to the observation deck, and waved out the window at a train we passed along the way. Scott asked the caboose owners' daughter if her dad had always had trains. "Yeah," she said. "They've just gotten bigger."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Help! I'm parenting a teenager!

Okay, not really. But here's Beth slouched down on the couch last Thursday, watching TV:

Here's the outfit she was wearing that day: a vintage-look silkscreened T-shirt and straight-leg jeans (check out the pose):

The absolute last straw was when I was stirring frozen peas into a pot of boxed mac 'n cheese and called her to lunch. She stalked into the kitchen, looked at the bare table and the pot on the stove, said, "I can't eat it. You're still making it," and stalked back out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

First day of preschool

Apparently the way your kid reacts to stress at age 3 is the same way they'll react to stress when they're 13 and 30. If that's true, I know exactly what the first day of junior high school will be like, and it's not going to be good.

Bethie was sooooo nervous about her first day of preschool. She couldn't sleep the night before — kept coming out of her room with various excuses and finally an "I can't sleep!" Poor munchkin — she worries about new situations, and despite the fact that she'd already met her teacher (a wonderful home visit) and that we'd been talking about preschool for quite a while, she was just a little bundle of nerves.

It even carried over to the next morning. Here's Beth wearing her jacket, backpack, and nervous smile, ready to go to school:

Scott stayed home with Sarah so we could do the first day unencumbered. Once we got to school she found her cubby with her picture in it, hung up her things, and trooped into the classroom with some other kids. And there were foam beads at one of the tables, and the kids were making necklaces. Less than ten minutes from the time we'd walked in the door, she was happily stringing beads on yarn. I told her I was going to have to leave, and I would pick her up at the end of her class, which was only an hour and fifteen minutes long that first day anyway. She barely looked up to say goodbye.

When I picked her up, her teacher commented that Beth had spent her time playing with the boys: sand table and pirate ship. Well, yeah. That's my kid. Boys aren't icky yet (except for Daddy, and when she says it she giggles) and what could be cooler than a ship that looks like it's from Pirates of the Caribbean?

Now that she's been going for a week (I started this post right after her first day of school, but somehow haven't found time to finish it until now), my anxious girl is gone — replaced by a kid who bounces out of bed at 7:00 on school mornings. She has three other little girls she plays with regularly, and she will happily chatter to anyone who asks about what she did at preschool. (Unless I'm in the room and I've already asked her, in which case she'll sigh and say, "Mommy, I already told you." So perhaps Scott and I are supposed to communicate telepathically?)

Miss Sarah also adores preschool, and is miffed when she has to leave with me. Life is so unfair when you're not yet 2 and your big sister gets to do cool things.


I have the Bethisms, and since we call Sarah "Say-say" sometimes (it's a reference to when Beth couldn't say her name and called her Baby Sayah) I figured I'd call Sarah's version Say-ings. Do stop me if it's too, too...well, okay. It is too-too much. It's my blog, and I'll be nauseatingly cute if I want to.

A month ago she was barely saying anything at all; now she'll tell us animal sounds (particularly "baa!" and "gack-gack-gack" for "quack"), enthusiastically point out Elmo, and point to her elbow and say "e-bow." "Yes" comes out as "guesh" or "gueh!" and she finally picked up "no-no-NO!" which I'm not thrilled about, but there you are.

Beth started preschool yesterday (more on this in another post) and I'm "guesh"ing that Say picks up quite a few more words without her big sister to intercede for her in a "Mommy, Sarah wants..." kind of way. Right now she makes herself understood (and quite well, too) with a combination of points, "uh-uh-UH!" grunts and frustrated yelling.

Oh, and she learned to do a somersault, too. Not communication, just awfully cute.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Somebody's been watching too much Wonder Pets!

Beth, to Grandma, who's reading her a book about dinosaurs: "Those guys eat this guy."

"That's right. If there's enough of them."

"They use teamwork and they take him down."