Friday, May 29, 2009

Separation Anxiety

Rosalie is worried. The kids just went upstairs without her. ("Hey, guys!")
She turns to me and spouts a string of syllables out of which I only recognize "Emma"--the name of her visiting cousin.
"You can go, too," I say
She slips off my lap, turns and says, "Shee ya!" while waving.
Me: "Bye!"
She turns on the first step, waves and says, "Bye!"
She turns on the third step and waves.
On the fifth step she turns, waves, and says, "Yater!"
On the last step before the landing, she turns and says, "Soon!"
Just before she goes past the bend on the landing she leans around and waves one last time.
She knows I am watching her every step. She worries--I don't always handle separation well.

Happy Birthday, Rosalie! 2 Years Old! Don't grow up too fast, K?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Angels and Demons

by Lissa

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I think my entire character as a mother can be illustrated by how I react when my four-year-old tries to tell me her made-up knock-knock jokes. (It's not to my credit.) She likes to do this when I am driving. Here is today's example.

Meri: "Mom, knock-knock. . . Mom! Knock-Knock!"
Me: "Oh, knock, knock. I mean, "who's there?"
Meri: "Bird." (She always takes her inspiration from what she can see out the car windows.)
Me: "Bird who?"
Meri: "Bird . . .on the side of a mountain!!!"
Me: "Uh-huh. Riiiiight."

This is pretty mild compared to some versions I have heard. All of my children have gone through this stage--they know the form of the joke, they realize there is some kind of surprise involved with the punch line, they just don't get the humor yet. But what could be more surprising than something they just thought of themselves for the first time?! Especially when, as is usual, it involves some kind of bizarre random violence?
Like this--"Bird who?" "Bird. . .who gets his head pulled off by a giant dinosaur and EATEN!!"
Anderson was especially fond of this kind of ending.

I feel like a bad mom. Maybe I should just laugh. But I'm afraid if I do they will keep telling me this kind of joke. It might not sound so bad, but just imagine a half-hour car ride filled with endless iterations like this: "Knock-knock! . . .Dog with a bone in his head!!" "Knock-knock! . . .Tree that's pink and purple and blue!!!" "Knock-knock! . . . Car that's right in front of us!! And it's turning!! Like a burning!!!" (rhymes are funny, right?)
It's pure torture.

So I tried to tell her a few real knock-knock jokes that she could fall back on. I told her the one about Dwayne. Dwayne the tub, I'm dwowning? You know, 'cause Dwayne is a name, but it sounds like a person who can't say their r's? (She can't say her r's either. Maybe that's why she didn't get it.) It's one of only two knock-knock jokes that I can remember.

So here's how today's conversation ended:

Me: "Would you like me to tell you a real knock-knock joke?"
Meri: "Yes."
Me: "Knock-knock."
Meri "Who's there?"
Me: uh. . .I already told her Dwayne--she didn't get it. . . I can't think of one! "Um, I can't remember one right now. We better look some up when we get home, K?"
Meri: "That was funny, Mom!"

It's like my sister said, the divide between kid brains and grown-up brains is absolute. At least when it comes to knock-knock jokes.

Oh, and the only other knock-knock joke I can remember goes like this:
Me: "Say Knock-knock."
You: "Knock-knock."
Me: "Who's there?"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Organized Sports

Clarissa and her cousin Megan were recruited to be in a softball league for the next month or so. The coach's daughter was the only one in our area who signed up, so coach Dove called girls in her daughter's grade until she got enough together for a team. By this you may gather that there wasn't a whole lot of experience amongst the members of "The Valley Girls." We parents felt a little inexperienced ourselves:

--"Wasn't the game supposed to start at 6:30? What are they waiting for? An Umpire? Do they have to have one? I thought this was just for fun."

--"Look, they're hitting the ball! How did they learn to do that? They've only had three practices."

--"Hey! Lissa's pitching! Did you know she could pitch?" "No, I didn't know she could pitch. I've never seen her pitch before. "

--"Megan got someone out! Look at that! Wow!"

This is the first time we've had a child involved in an actual team sport. Jenny and Rex are first-timers, too. We are the farthest thing away from the parents you hear about who get rabid about their kid's sports. We just like the fact that our kids are outside, but that the season is short.
The Valley Girls lost their first game tonight, something to 3. (We only keep track of our own team's runs.) Lissa and Megan each got a run and we are so proud. And Lissa struck out two batters! (She may have walked more than that, but we don't keep track of the other teams runs.) And she tagged someone out.
It made for a great family night. Rex and Jenny brought pizza so that my kids could have second dinner. There was lots of shady grass for the other kids to wrestle on. We only lost track of our one-year-old two or three times. And afterwards, we ate ice cream at a park.

I think we could actually do this.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Things Learned from the 1st Grade Operas

There are four classes in our school's First Grade and each one got to put on a 10-15 minute Opera. They wrote the words themselves. And the plots. It was very creative. And informative. Here are some things we learned:
  • Animals help plants survive the winter by moving the heavy snow off.
  • When bunnies and cheetah girls eat too many carrots, they get tummy aches.
  • Drinking Sprite will fix a tummy ache. ("Sprite has saved the day!") (Sing it!)
  • Butterflies just want everyone to get along.
  • If praying mantises steal the butterflies' eggs, the bees will threaten to sting them unless they return the eggs.
  • Butterflies, caterpillars, and aliens like to vacation in Hawaii.
  • Caterpillars can fly to Hawaii. With butterflies and aliens.
  • If, while you are vacationing in Hawaii, a tree is struck by lightning and falls and breaks your pool, dogs and horses can help you fix it.

Also, some bees (named Anderson) like to keep their hands in their pockets the whole time. While rolling their ankles in and out.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What makes a mother?

Basically, having children.

There you have it. Proof that I am a mother. That's all it takes, right?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Three Decades in the General Vicinity

My sister Victoria and her husband Michael just celebrated the 10th anniversary of the day they met. They have a nice story. (Read it here.)
It got us thinking. We don't remember the day we met. We barely remember the year we met. But we must have met in kindergarten, because here is our class photo.

It's like fate that we are close enough to circle our two heads, don't you think?
The boy under the yellow arrow is Johnny. He had such dreamy brown eyes. And he had a crush on me. He would sit next to me on the floor during reading time. I would scoot away and he would follow until Miss Pat told us to sit still. If she caught us while we were sitting together it was like the last petal of the daisy saying "He loves me." He moved away at the end of the year. Again, like fate.
It wasn't until much later that I developed my crush on Casey. Three whole years later. By then he had his own crush on my best friend, Jenny. I used to pass the notes back and forth between them. I wonder why I never checked the No boxes on those "Do you like me?" notes. Too innocent, I guess. I'd do it in a heartbeat now.

(Here we are again! We don't get any cuter than this.)
(And check out the Dukes of Hazard Tee top left.)

Here's how I fell in love with Casey: At age eight my phobia was BOREDOM. Specifically, Eternal Boredom, as in "If God knows everything and lives forever, than He must be BORED! I don't want to live forever!!!!" This is what I thought when I lay in my bed at night and couldn't sleep. Weird, I know. (My previous phobia was earthquakes. My subsequent phobia was MX missiles.) (Did anyone else have irrational phobias as a child?)
So one day at school they had all the second graders sitting cross legged on the floor and we must have been doing some kind of presentation for parents or something. The teachers would ask a question, then hand the microphone to a kid for the answer. I remember one girl told us how to spell "friend" by saying the mnemonic "FRIday is the END." I've spelled that word perfectly ever since.
Then, (the fateful moment) a teacher asked, "What is the only constant, sure thing?" She let some kids try to answer. We came up with Death and Taxes, etc. She shot us all down, then handed the mic to Casey.
And he said, "The only constant is change."
I was stunned. Seriously. My phobia vanished like a puff of steam. He was my hero.

It took me years to realize that the whole thing was staged. I mean, Casey was always a brain but his bent was Math/Sciences--never Philosophy.

When I did my "remember when" about this pivotal moment, Casey said, "That never happened." (!!!)---That is what he says about things he doesn't remember. Looking back over 30 years that happens a lot. ('nother mnemonic--"a lot" is a lot of words--I think my friend Kyle Frank told me that one. Yes, I used to spell it "alot.") It's our own personal law: The Conservation of Memory--if one of us remembers it, the other one probably doesn't. When we say "remember when..." it is not a rhetorical question. I think that's a good thing, in a way. That way, even though we share so many of the same experiences, we haven't run out of stories to tell each other.

We haven't really had 30 years "together" (yet), but you could say we were close the whole time.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Long and Short

Ani was growing her hair for two reasons: to see if she could get her hair as long as her friend Lindsey's, and to donate it to Locks of Love (minimum of 10 inches-) She had reached both goals when spring arrived, and suddenly everyone wanted short hair.

Lissa didn't have 10 inches of hair to cut off, but I learned that they will take shorter lengths of hair and sell them to offset the costs of making their wigs for kids.

I hope red hair sells for a lot, because it breaks my heart to chop it.

I also cut Anderson's and Casey's hair.

"I want my freakin' awesome hair back, Mom. Why'd you have to cut it?"

And Handsome Man is still handsome.

Meredith cut her own hair not long ago--the same haircut she gave herself last year. (I give her a bob, then she cuts the sides off when I'm not looking.) I guess that's how she likes it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mission Impossible

Rosalie likes to take off vent covers and look down into the creepy depths.
Yesterday, she dropped in a 2 inch jingle bell. It rolled just like a ball about three feet down the gentle incline. We thought it was gone for good.

And that's when Gadget Man appeared!

Using only some tape, a vacuum attachment, a magnet from a Relief Society fridge decoration, two flashlights, a tape measure, and a webcam, he constructed a retrieval system the likes of which you have never seen before!

The remote image on the laptop screen showed every last detail of his triumph. The bell surrendered-- scooting toward the magnet before its position could be taken. It was Fully AWESOME!

The kids were enthralled. Gadget Man/Dad was the hero of the day.

It seems a waste to disassemble it--anyone swallow any pennies lately?