Thursday, July 30, 2009

Story-Telling Girl

String Bean, in addition to her general obsession with princesses, has developed a fascination with fairy tales. She has the standard Disney fairy tale collection, and a Barbie fairy tale book and movie, but her favorite fairy tales are the ones she makes up herself, starring herself and her sister, often with her step-cousin and the neighbor boy playing roles as princes.

She’s given up having me read bedtime stories from books, instead preferring that we take turns telling each other stories about these two princess sisters and their adventures in a kingdom where mystical, magical things happen every day. We’ve had stories about magical fish in a lake behind the castle, that cast rainbows as they jump out of the water, talking unicorns that invite the girls to a hidden orchard for the best fruit ever, and castle balls where everyone dances until an evil witch comes to break up the party, is defeated by the princesses and their princes, who then become engaged and life happily ever after.

As a story teller myself, I probably don’t have to tell you how much I adore this new side of her always active imagination. Watching her string together words, images, and concepts, her eyes wide with amazement at her own story’s development, I can plainly see myself as a young girl, developing this same fascination at a similar age.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dog TV

The dog has found something in a wood pile out back, something small and quiet that we’ve never seen, but can see evidence of in the tiny burrows beneath the pile of twigs we cut off our mulberry tree in vain efforts to keep it from taking over then entire deck with its long, low-slung branches. We have a variety of wildlife around us, from the horses that live up on the hill behind us, to a variety of hawks, smaller birds, and squirrels that like our maple tree, to nightly visitors of raccoons, opossum, the occasional skunk, and, for one horrible summer, these tree-scaling rats that would scurry up the fence after dark.

Whatever this current resident is, we’re guessing a vole, it has captivated our dog like no other creature. He’ll stand out back, ears pricked forward, tail wagging, just studying this small pile of tree limbs. He never barks or digs at it, seeming content just to watch, sometimes for hours. Our dog, a Vizsla (so not a calm breed by anyone’s standards), will be 6 in October, and he seems to be mellowing out ever so slightly now. He can still go pretty nuts when we have company, jumping and wriggling so exuberantly that you’d think he might squirm right out of his skin, but after such an episode of excitement, he’ll nap for a good hour to recover. So it’s only recently that he could muster the kind of focus he seems to be showing the wood pile.

Personally, I like the new guest. I gave up on my vegetable garden years ago, when all of our nightly visitors stripped my plants clean each day, so the vole can have the planter box he’s living in. And I like how his presence is keeping me from tripping over the dog all day. I get a little worried during heat waves, when the dog is outside panting like mad in 105 degree weather, refusing to abandon his newfound entertainment to come in and cool off. But who am I to deny him his favorite show?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I’m amazed by the simple pleasures that never fail to entertain my children: stickers, coloring, and bubbles. For all of the fancy, complicated, high-tech or trendy toys they have, there is nothing in the toy box that can compete with this triad of irresistible entertainment.

Over the weekend, when they were both going stir crazy inside and starting to turn on each other, I gave up trying to set them up with projects or games, grabbed the bubble blowing hippopotamus that has become their latest addiction, and headed out back. Within minutes, squawks had turned to squeals of laughter, and sisterly competition had turned to shared glee. What is it about chasing a trail of bubbles across a yard that can bring such instant bliss? Even the dog loves the bubble machine, trying to catch each iridescent ball with such reckless abandon that I feared for his safety.

While the girls screeched and spun, basking in the puffs of bubbles spewing from the hippo’s mouth, I vaguely remembered a time when such simple things could make me so happy, too. These days, it’s a little hard to block out all of the chores and responsibilities to feel that sense of pure joy, but when I’m with my girls, watching them laugh and run together, I get pretty close.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Little Ears Hear Everything

Peanut’s the best eavesdropper you’ve ever seen. She can be engaged in a game of her own, talking to herself or her toys the entire time, and still hear everything adults are saying in the next room. I have a pretty good filter for String Bean. I remember being four years old, so I figure she’ll remember the stuff she experiences now, and I should be careful not to say things around her that I don’t want her to know or share. But I didn’t realize I needed to be so careful around my two-year-old. My sister and I have been caught off guard by Peanut, gossiping about family stuff or friend drama, while we knew she was busy playing loud and hard in the other room, only to have her show up moments later, asking questions about our conversation topic.

I’ve been working on some short stories lately, and the other day, while String Bean was at preschool, I was reading one out loud as I proofread it. Peanut was busily playing with her Tinkerbell dolls, making up stories and using fairy voices as they chatted with each other and flew from room to room. Then she came into the kitchen and started asking me questions about a girl, her sister, their mother, a baby, and it took me several minutes to figure out that, even with her nonstop chatter, she had been listening to my story aloud and was asking me questions about my characters.

So, for family and close friends, the next time you find yourself in the company of Peanut, be aware of what you’re saying. Even if she’s screaming and jumping around in the next room, she’s likely hearing every word.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


After years of commercial-free TV (PBS, Netflix online, DVDs, and a trigger-happy kid who couldn’t wait to use the skip button on the remote to pass by any commercials, scary parts, or boring parts), I’ve taped a few G-rated movies off the Disney channel, only to realize that the types of commercials they show are not the types of commercials String Bean wants to skip. So, now, I’m being inundated with requests for special light-up shoes, jewelry making kits, baby dolls that fold in half inside their very own carriers, and the one I hate the most: Bendaroos. These plasticky wanna-be pipe cleaners have become the bane of my existence. A normal conversation with String Bean will go like this: “Can you stop bothering your sister? Now, what do you want for lunch today?” “Mommy, I think I really need some Bendaroos.” “No, no Bendaroos. Lunch. Peanut butter and honey?” “But I really think I’d like Bendaroos. You can write your name with them.” “You can write your name with the pipe cleaners you already have. Or with a pen and paper.” “But Bendaroos are so fun!” She knows this because the advertisement tells her so. She’s learning all kinds of things she never needed to know from advertisements. She now needs a Rocket fishing rod, a Bedazzler, and this automatic toothpaste dispenser that fascinates her to no end. And I need to stop taping movies off the Disney Channel.

Washing Machine TV

I have been coveting front-loading washing machines for years. The only problem was our washer was fine, a nice large-capacity number I’d bought off Craigslist when hubby and I first moved in together. But lately the old beast has been giving us trouble, with clothes seeming to get more roughed-up than they should, some even coming out with small tears from getting caught on the agitator. So, this week, as an anniversary gift to ourselves, hubby and I took the plunge, and we now have a beautiful new eco-friendly front-loading washing machine to mark six years of marriage together.

Not only is the new washing machine sleek and space-age with it’s ridiculous number of buttons and options (and yet it’s surprisingly easy to use), but it has become great entertainment for the kids. We’ve done three loads of laundry so far, and each time the girls sat before it on their miniature chairs, watching the load inside tumble around, calling out the items of clothing they recognized as they went by: “That’s my skirt! I see your purple shirt! Those are my pink shorts!” They saw me gathering sheets and towels together this morning, and made me promise not to start the laundry until after String Bean got home from preschool, so that they could watch their favorite new show together.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big Girl

Okay, I’ll admit it, String Bean, now four years old, has always slept in her crib. She’s a stubborn child, resistant to change, and prone to nightmares. She spent maybe three naps in her toddler bed before having a bad dream that a tiger was trying to get her and deciding that her crib was the only safe place for her. Who am I to argue with a child’s sense of safety? So I didn’t push. She’s had both her toddler bed and her crib in her room for over a year now. The toddler bed has become the couch of her room, where stuffed animals and toys get discarded, where we sit side-by-side when we read her bedtime story before she climbs into her crib for the night.

Then, a week ago, she looked out her window at the house across the street, where our new neighbors live, and asked if their five-year-old daughter sleeps in a big girl bed. I said yes, I bet she does, as I got her crib ready for the night. String Bean looked from the crib to the toddler bed and announced that from now on, she only sleeps in a big girl bed herself. And she has, ever since.

Today she told me it’s time to take apart the crib and get it out of her room. She has plans for the space. And so I am reminded again, as if I needed another reminder, that this is not a girl to be pushed into anything. She’ll get there on her own, in her own time-frame, usually the moment I stop nudging her in the direction I want her to go. She’s so much like me it’s scary. And, oddly, comforting.

Monday, July 20, 2009

City Girls

The other day we went on a family outing to San Francisco, taking the ferry across the bay from Oakland. The ferry was a nice half-hour ride, just long enough for the girls to get their fill of viewing life from the water, without being long enough for them to get bored or too curious about exploring every nook and cranny of the boat. The only downside (upside, if you’re under 5 years old) was the balloon-animal making man on board, handing out yellow balloon dogs and red and white balloon butterflies for tips, which of course the girls loved, and we had the privilege of carrying around the city for the few hours we were visiting.

We had my sister-in-law along for the trip, which was excellent, as the two-year-old Peanut wanted to be carried everywhere. It’s manageable with two parents, but so much easier with a third set of arms (and legs) to put in the rotation. One thing about our little Peanut, she would make a lousy monkey. She never holds on to you while you’re toting her about, she just goes limp and trusts you go keep her from slipping down your body.

We didn’t make it far from the Ferry Building in San Francisco, we had lunch there, hit the gelato place, and wandered around the fountain across the street. There were some street vendors set up near the fountain, and I realized, as my girls gawked and squealed about all the pretty jewelry laid out to see, that they’ve never experienced anything like that: jewelers with their wares on display at a child’s eye level, all those crystal earrings and beaded necklaces and woven bracelets. We managed to make it back on the ferry home with only the balloon animals, which is a tribute to our remarkable restraint.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

String Bean

My oldest daughter is growing out of control. I don’t mean she’s becoming out of control in any emotional way, I mean it’s the growing she’s doing that is out of control. She grew another inch in the last couple of months. When I carry her (and she loves to be carried), I have to ask her repeatedly to tuck her long legs up and around me so they don’t get tangled up in my legs as I walk. At four years old, she’s just shy of 43” tall now. I’m not a tall mom. I’m 5’1”, and with only 18 inches between us, at the rate she’s going, she’ll pass me up in a few years. My husband assures me that she’ll slow down soon, but since he’s 6’3” tall, I don’t consider him an expert on slowing growth patterns.

So now String Bean’s pants are all flooding, but because she weighs maybe 34 pounds on a good day, she’s all ribs and hip bones, pointy elbows and knobby knees, and pants that are the right length simply slide off her slim frame. She’s been a picky eater most of her life, but lately she’s been eating quite well. Many days for lunch she’ll finish her sandwich, then finish her sister’s, then eat a couple of servings of fruit, then head to the kitchen for a snack. Obviously, all of these calories are fueling height but not weight.

String Bean’s been the tallest girl in her preschool class for a while now, but this week I noticed she’s caught up to most of the tallest boys in her class, too. My husband reminded me that there’s a window of time when girls are all outgrowing boys, before puberty hits and the boys shoot up. I just hope there aren’t any school dances or other boy/girl events during that time frame, as it’ll take a pretty confident boy to ask a girl whose a head taller than him to dance.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Altoids Addict

My youngest is addicted to Altoids mints. You know, those ridiculously strong ones that no two-year-old should be able to stand? I keep a tin of them in the car, and use them as bribes for convincing her to get in the car, sit in her car seat, and hold still until she is strapped in. One successful round of being buckled into the car seat equals one mint. But then I have to listen to her demanding more the entire trip to wherever we’re headed. One day, just to test her limits on the mints, I gave her one each time she asked. By the time we made it to her sister’s preschool, she’d eaten five in a row, crunching them up like peanuts. I can’t handle the mildest hot sauce, so this taste for mouth-burning mints perplexes and fascinates me much more than it should. The only down side is that her sister hates the mints, but always wants everything equal, so while the little one is munching on Altoids, the older one is demanding some sort of equal but different treat, which I never have on hand. On the flip side, one positive side effect is that when I’m lifting my youngest out of the car and she starts talking to me (she’s always talking, that one), a nice, fresh cloud of minty breath comes out of her mouth.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Almond and Milk Diet

My husband, who no one would ever call fat, likes to go on something called the “Abs Diet” from time to time, to strengthen his lean form, reduce organ fat (I’ll spare you the unsettling visual on this problem that I’ve had described to me too many times), and just generally get into better shape. It’s a combination of an exercise regimen and diet that is high in protein and calcium, and it seems to work for him. The diet itself was created for men, particularly meat-eating men, so I’ve never felt like it would work for me. I can’t eat the mass quantities of salmon and other lean meats, and the calorie counts are all wrong for me. But I have noticed the results he gets from his time on the abs diet, so I decided to try my own version.

It’s hard to have a high-protein diet as a vegetarian, without making yourself sick on soy or clogging your arteries with dairy, but a couple of things I do like are raw almonds and skim milk. So my version should be called the almond and milk diet. The notion of the diet is similar to my mother’s diabetic diet, with several small meals throughout the day, with high-protein snacks in between to keep your blood sugar level. Anybody who is home all day with small children knows that sitting and eating a large meal just doesn’t happen, so the concept of small meals seemed easy enough for me to follow. I have a handful of almonds and a tall glass of skim milk between meals to tide myself over, and then I’m never starving or shaky or cranky from hunger, and when I do eat a meal, I eat a small one because I’m just not that hungry.

I’m a little person, and I haven’t had any great weight battles in my life, but after two kids, I did notice my petite frame wasn’t snapping back as fast as I’d expected. I had a little unfirmness around the belly that was new and unwelcome and that crunches didn’t seem to be banishing. I’ve been on my very low-maintenance almond and milk diet for a little while now, and I’ve been happy with the results. I’ve lost about five pounds, which isn’t what matters to me, and I’ve lost the little pudge in my abdomen, which is what matters to me, and my pre-pregnancy clothes are fitting the way they should. I try not to think about the organ fat thing, but I’m also feeling like I’m doing my part to make that go away.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Perfect Baby

Up until this point, my sister has had just about the perfect baby. Not too fussy, no signs of colic, a good nurser, easily transitioned from mommy’s bed into her own crib, and she never makes a big deal about having a wet or dirty diaper. I had warned her that both of my girls hit a mysterious peak of fussiness between six and eight weeks, where they’d scream for hours despite being fed, changed, well-rested, cuddled, and entertained. Fortunately for my sister, my niece missed this milestone, and sailed right into her ninth week without a break in her happy disposition.

My niece is fifteen weeks old today, able to hold her head up and anxious to take in the world around her, quick to smile and laugh, eager to track every movement and sound around her, and fussy about all of it. She’s finally hit that point where eating and sleeping are her happy times, and the in-between periods are wearing my sister out with attempts to soothe her. She likes to sit upright, and take in the world, but her little head gets heavy quickly, and she gets fussy from that. So the logical thing would be to let her lie down, with a rattle or activity mat (or two very eager cousins) to entertain her, but she no longer likes to lie down, and this leads to fussiness.

Of course I’m sorry to see my sister struggling to keep this formerly content baby happy, and I wish I had some advice to offer, aside from the usual “she’ll grow out of this stage.” But on another level, I’m glad to know that she has a normal baby after all, and not the perfect little angel that made my girls look like thorny spawn.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Leave it to my mother-in-law to come through on the fancy dress front. My four-year-old is still asking daily about my wedding dress. She feels this desperate need to try it on. All of my explanations that it simply won’t fit seem to do nothing to stop her constant requests. She simply needs it, that pretty white dress all around her. And this need is driving both of us crazy.

This week my sister-in-law is here to visit. Now, prior to this visit, she has been worshipped and adored by her nieces, to the point where she has become one of their primary imaginary friends in games around the house. But after opening her suitcase to reveal two flower girl dresses she wore 25 years ago, there will be no topping her in their eyes.

My mother-in-law was cleaning out her attic or a closet, and came across these old dresses: one satiny one with puffy pink sleeves and another white one with lace sleeves, a satiny bodice, and a layered skirt. My girls have been wearing them ever since, prancing around like princesses, holding up the front of their skirts like Cinderella racing down the stairs to flee the prince. My oldest immediately claimed the white dress for herself, and the toddler (always so easy-going) is very happy with the puffy pink one. They are adorable, running around the house in these very formal, highly impractical dresses, asking their auntie again and again if she really wore them when she was a little girl. And, best of all, I haven’t heard a word about the wedding dress since my oldest slipped that white flower girl dress on. Thank you, to the best mother-in-law and sister-in-law ever!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


My firstborn hardly ever hurts herself. She’s always been agile and sure-footed, a good climber, a strong runner, unlikely to topple over while carrying something awkward or when dodging our dog coming at her at top speed. She’s a bit on the cautious side, even now, making sure her shoes are strapped on securely before she heads out for an adventure.

Now our second child has none of these reservations and takes no precautions before throwing herself headlong (sometimes literally) into any new experience. Consequently, we’re dealing with a lot more injuries this second time around. It’s pretty rare that the toddler isn’t sporting a bruise on her forehead, a scrape on her knee, and/or some mystery bruise on her hip or shoulder. Mostly I see the problem as her trying to keep up with her sister’s ridiculously long 4-year-old strides on stubbier 2-year-old legs. But there’s also the issue of her lack of fear. She never seems the least bit concerned that she might get hurt. She never looks down at her feet, so she’s always tripping over toys, pets, our feet, or thresholds of doorways. The other day she pulled a rather spectacular skid down the front lawn and onto the driveway, resulting in two skinned knees, a couple of scraped knuckles, and a pretty impressive cut on her chin. None of which did a thing to slow her down. Of course, at the time, she was chasing her big sister and the neighbor’s 4-year-old boy around the front yard.

I can tell from the lack of drama after an injury that she has a higher pain tolerance than her sister, so maybe that’s a factor, too. But mostly I think she just doesn’t want to be left behind. As a baby sister myself, I can understand that feeling. But until she’s big enough to keep up without hurting herself, I’m thinking we should invest in a helmet (with face shield), knee pads, elbow pads, and maybe a padded room to safely chase each other around in.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fashion Queen

My four-year-old is the queen of outfit changes. She can go through a dozen outfits in a day, rotating from pants to a skirt to shorts to a dress, then back to the skirt with a different shirt, that shirt with a different pair of shorts, a second skirt, a different dress…you get the idea.

Today she had worn four different outfits by 10am. Five if you counted the PJs she woke up in and insisted on wearing for the first hour. When her grandparents showed up at 10am, she immediately began tugging at the bow behind her, untying the sash around her waist so that she could quickly change her dress before they made it into the house. Where does this desire come from? I’d say it’s a girl thing, except that I’m a girl, and I have no such thing. Likewise with her baby sister, who hates changing clothes unless the ones she’s wearing are soaked in milk or juice.

I frequently watch my kids carry on in their own unique orbits, and wonder if the habits and behaviors they’re so consistent about are hints about what kind of adults they’ll be, the types of careers they’ll pursue, or at least the majors they’ll consider in college. If that’s true, then so far she’ll be pursuing acting, fashion design, modeling, teaching, being a personal shopper, cooking, and some sort of manager/director position. Pretty much anything but food tasting.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Bug Drama

My youngest’s bug fear continues, unabated. This past weekend we went back up to our family’s cabin in the Sierras, where bugs are just a fact of life. My mother armed the little one with her very own fly swatter, and set her on a bug-killing rampage that did not actually harm any insects, but landed several pieces of dirt and lint in the swatter’s net.

She actually seemed a little better by the end of the trip, shrieking hysterically at the sight of a bug, then calling someone to come kill it, but not trembling to the point of causing a mini-earthquake beneath her. She befriended the bug zapper, cheering up every time she heard the loud zap sound, asking repeatedly, “Does that mean a bug’s gone? Does that sound mean a bug is dead?” And she only woke up one night screaming about spiders in a dream.

Still, as soon as we arrived home, she was in bug-inspection mode, doing her careful sweep of the perimeter of each room, looking for spiders behind bookcases and desks, for flies hidden behind the curtains, or in the corners of the windows. After two days of searching, she’s only been able to find one fly, who flew out the back door as soon as I opened it. So far today she hasn’t called me in to kill any insects, real or imagined, so hopefully we’re getting past the inspection mode.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Super Smelling Powers

My youngest has a ridiculously good sense of smell. She can walk into a room, where her dad has just popped a few M&Ms into his mouth, and say, “Daddy, I smell chocolate!” I thought I had a good sense of smell, but after seeing her in action, I no longer think so. It’s like she’s got that amped-up pregnant-lady sense of smell, without the accompanying nausea from all smells.

The other day I was drinking a Diet Pepsi in the kitchen while the girls were sitting in the front window watching the world go by, when some sort of scuffle broke out. I rushed in, to pick the toddler up off the floor, where her sister had pushed her for taking up too much of the bench they shared, and she immediately looked at me and said, “I smell Grandma’s drink!” It took me a minute to understand, before I remembered that my mother has a Diet Pepsi every afternoon with lunch.

Yesterday in the car the girls were getting a little too wound-up, so we decided to give them these chewy fruit stick things that keep them quiet for a few minutes. Their dad had opened the first one maybe a millimeter, when the toddler piped up: “Daddy, I smell something! Is that for me? Is that a fruit stick to eat?” I think she has shark-sensitive smell. A drop of food a mile away sense-of-smell.

There’s always something these kids throw at you, just when you think they can’t surprise you anymore, to remind you how full of surprises they are.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Miss Bossy Pants

One of the great things about having a four-year-old is finally getting past the tantrum phase. Now that we’re past the terrible twos and the thankless threes, she’s very good with her words, clear on what she’s feeling and why, and willing to talk about it. These are good things. Amazing milestones, really. The way she can turn to me and, instead of launching into an over-the-edge outburst, say, “Mommy, I’m just feeling a little frustrated because I can’t get this dress back on the doll. Can you help me?” When she handles such moments with that level of grace I grab her and kiss her until she pushes me away. Finally, a reasonable person is emerging from that feisty little body of hers!

But with the fabulous fours there comes a new phase. The bossy phase. She doesn’t just boss her sister around, she goes after me, her father, her grandparents, her friends. She puts on her best authoritative voice and says, “No! You don’t do it like that. That’s the wrong way. You have to do it like this.” I hear this all day long, and to say it drives me crazy is putting it mildly. I did my best to cut her off whenever I saw Miss Bossy Pants emerging at play dates, not wanting the sweet younger children there to be subjected to her newfound domination streak. But after a few slips, and apologies to the other mothers, I learned that all of the four-year-olds in our play group are going through the same phase.

I get it, something about using your words and your will together to achieve a desired outcome. In that way it’s a pretty impressive development. But at home, when I’ve just heard her yell at her baby sister for feeding the imaginary crocodile an imaginary fish in their imaginary game, when Miss Bossy Pants only wants the croc fed chicken, I have to step in. It doesn’t seem to drive my husband as crazy as it makes me. Either because he’s not home all day to hear it over and over, or because, unlike me, he doesn’t instantly sympathize with the unfazed toddler who’s just been scolded. You see, he’s a big brother, and doesn’t know what it’s like to be bossed around your whole life by an older sibling. But I’m the baby sister in my family, and I know all too well how that feels. So, as much as I appreciate the self-confidence evident in her bossy voice, as glad as I am that she’s able to articulate herself in a way that gets what she wants, I’m not letting Miss Bossy Pants get away with it. It’s time for Miss Temperate Pants to emerge.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Wedding Dress

The other day, out of the blue, my 4-year-old asked me if I still had my wedding dress. I told her I did, in that long white garment bag she’s seen in my closet dozens of times. She became obsessed with it, needing to see the big white dress she’d seen in all of our wedding photos. For the sake of sanity, I waited until her baby sister was down for a nap before showing it to her. I took her into my room and unzipped the garment bag partway, then lifted her up to see the bodice of the dress. It’s a simple A-line gown, strapless, with Swarovski crystals decorating the bodice. “Can I touch it?” my daughter asked. I checked her hands for dirt or stickiness, then told her she could. She was in little girl heaven, touching the silky fabric and the beadwork.

Of course, next she wanted to try it on. After much explaining about how, even though I let her prance around wearing one of my skirts and my black flats (an outfit she wore for three days straight last week), the dress just wasn’t going to fit her, she finally let it go. For about five minutes. The conversation has been going ever since. “Why can’t I just try it on?” “Because it’s very long, and you’re just not tall enough.” “When I’m taller can I try it on?” “Sure.” “When will I be tall enough?” Since (at 5’ 1”) I have always been one of the shortest people I know, and since she has always been around 90th percentile for height, I was tempted to tell her it would probably be very soon, but this wasn’t a time for joking around. “Ask me again in a few years,” I said.

Later, she asked if she could wear it when she gets married. I’m sure when she’s done growing it’ll come to her knees, but instead I just nodded, and promised that if she wants to wear it when she grows up, she can. Somewhere in the middle of this discussion I remembered the delicate crystal-studded tiara that I wore with the big white dress on my wedding day. I’ll save that for another day, when I can trust her with it a little more. Because I’m sure once she gets that thing on her head, it’s never coming off.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Best Friends

So, after a couple of weeks off of preschool, my oldest has now started the summer session. She was a little unsure about going back, and I expected a little drama when I dropped her off yesterday, but when the teacher said it was time to sit down in circle, she rushed over to get a good seat, glancing back to wave and blow a kiss to me. It was surprisingly easy. I still kept my phone nearby the whole morning, half expecting the school to call (as they have a couple of times in the past) to say she was crying to come home. Fortunately, they never did.

At noon, my toddler and I went to pick her up. We found her with two other little girls (“my girls” she calls them), holding hands and dancing around in a circle. The teacher smiled at me and told me she’d had a great day, had laughed hard and played hard and enjoyed every second of the day. But the best part was when she looked away from her dancing group of girls and spotted her baby sister. They squealed and flung themselves at each other, arms open for a long, swaying hug. They’d been apart for all of three hours. But, after a couple of weeks of being together all day every day, that can feel like a lifetime to two little kids. Very few things warm my heart the way seeing how much my girls adore each other does.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Another fun thing about having kids is the way they make you realize what you must’ve been like as a kid. My girls have developed a habit of memorizing certain lines from movies and repeating them over and over (and over) again, until I’m ready to scream at them to stop. First it was a line from Mulan: “Get out of there, you make people sick!” which they would say, scream, sing, or shout to no end. This week it’s a line from the movie The Wild: “Goodbye Ryan, we’re gonna miss ya!” They can repeat this phrase for hours and never grow bored of it.

The only remotely funny thing about this annoying new game of theirs is remembering that my sister and I used to do the exact same thing. There was a time when we could (and frequently did) recite every word of dialogue from the movie Valley Girl (among others), and we thought it was highly entertaining. Our mother didn’t see the enjoyment in repeating the same sets of lines over and over again, and used to shush us repeatedly. At the time I thought she was a spoil sport who didn’t understand the basic joys in life. I even remember her telling me that she didn’t have any interest in seeing the same movie fifty times, and wondering how she could possibly feel like that. Now, of course, I get it. I get it well enough that the other day, I actually apologized to her for driving her crazy with my movie-line memorizations all those years ago. She, of course, just nodded toward my kids, shouting “Goodbye Ryan, we’re gonna miss ya!” in unison, and laughed.