Wednesday, December 29, 2010

family: ...I want you...

... (to listen to me) so bad, babe...

One of the great things about being a parent (besides watching yourself turn into YOUR parents) is having the opportunity to teach your kids. As in, trying to convince them to do/not do something you want them to do/not do. As in, good luck!

Our "teachable moments" tend to go like this:

K (wailing about something, most likely a wardrobe issue): I can't! I won't! I'll never....
me: K, what's wrong. If you tell me, I can help you. But you need to calm down.
K (stomping her foot): No! I don't want to see you!!
me (figuring I'll wait her out, I go to lie down with a book): Ok. Tell me when you want help and I can help you.
K (stomping her feet and slamming drawers): Aaaaarrrrgh!!!!! (really crying now)
me (turning page of book): K, do you want help?
K: No! Leave me alone!!
me (turning page of book): Ok.

So K, if you're reading this in, say, 20 years, what I was hoping was that you would just pause, take a moment to breath, and together we could have figured a way around the problem. Instead, you probably went to school in your underwear. (Not really!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

definitions: crazy aches / gold fish go

We've been trying to do the "family games" thing a little bit. Not in any organized kind of way, but more in a can-I-manage-a-game-instead-of-sending-them-down-to-watch-a-Saddle-Club situational sort of approach. And occasionally one of us will actually pull it off (where "pull it off" = distract the girls from watching a video until it's too late to start).

Lately two of our favorites have been:

crazy aches - which has something to do with 8s and everything to do with being crazy. We generally turn all the cards upside down and flip them over one by one until someone gets a match.

gold fish go - deal out 6 cards to each player who lays them face up in front of themselves. Spread the rest of the cards face-down in a pool between the players. Player 1 asks another player if they have a match to one of their (player 1's) cards. Note: that player 1 can see the other cards, and any suggestion that we try it with cards hidden results in loud complaints about it being too hard that way. If, by some miracle, the asked player does not have a matching card, they say "gold fish go" and player 1 draws a card from the pool.

Monday, December 27, 2010

family: ... mister postman, look and see...

another in the "conversations had while too tired to talk" series:

The girls are playing horses and want me to play too. I'm initially the veterinarian, but suddenly am shifted to playing Max.

me: The vet can't come right now.
K: Why not?
L: Yeah, why not Daddy?
me (scrambling for a valid reason): Uh… because… because she's delivering a baby horse! (brilliant!)
K (big smile): Really?
L: Really?
me: Yup.
K: Daddy… I mean Max?
me: Yeah?
K: Where is she sending it?
me: What?
K: Where is she sending the baby horse?
me ("sending?"… delivering? ah): Um, it's… over at the ... other ranch.
K: Where?
me (motioning out the window): Over at the other ranch.
K: When is she going to be sending it over here?
me: In about 2 hours.

K: Daddy, is she sending it in a box?
me: What?
K: The baby horse. Is it delivered in a box?
L: Is it in a box Daddy?
me: Uh, no.
K: In what then?
me: Hmm… in a trailer?
K: Oh. Daddy?
me: Yeah.
K: What were we delivered in? A box?
me: No,no.
K: What then?
L: Yeah Daddy, what then?
me: In… tiny bassinets.
ps, happy birthday grampa biddle!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

family: ... joy...

... to your world.

Whether high-fructose corn syrup-induced,

or less processed,

we wish you the sort of joy and happiness that finds its way into our home these days.

ps, if you're reading this before 6am, go back to bed!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

photo thursday/family: ... santa claus is coming to town...

I can't resist this picture of my mom and Santa, taken when she was around... 5? years old.

JVZ and SC
(Honolulu, Territory of Hawai'i)

This was taken in front of the Advertiser building (where my grandmother worked as assistant to Lorrin Thurston the editor). K and L think the Santa's beard is "crazy!" and "doesn't look like a real beard" but I think they don't know what Santa looks like in Hawai'i. (That is some crazy hair he's got going!)

One of the things I love about this (other than Santa's sense of "style") is that Mom is clutching two dolls. Another is that she's at least trying to smile. We took K to see Santa when she was 1 1/2, and once we got to the front of the line, she didn't want to see him. Which means we ended up with a photo of K, Santa, and me. I look like I'm sitting on Santa's lap, but I was perched on the arm of his chair. I swear it!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

family: ... you give her fever...

(It's the giving season, so L has given K her fever, and both the girls are giving us sleepless nights. But even in the midst of this, holiday miracles do occur.)

The scene: after a long night of 102+ fevers, changing barf-covered sheets, and generally being woken up every 30 minutes or so, the family is lounging on the living room couch, uncertain just how 7a came to be so early.

K (snuggled on her mama's lap): L, I want to tell you someping.
L (snuggled on my lap): I slepted in my bed all night long.
me: Yes you did.
M: Nice job L!
K: L, I want to tell you someping!
L: I did a good job in my own bed!
K: L! Mommy, I want to tell her someping!
M: Hey L, K wants to tell you something.
L: What?
K: Well, last night I spit up.
L: What?
K: I spit up.
M: Yes you did.
me: And you slept through it L.
L: I slepted through it?
me: Yes! That was good.And amazing.
K: Mommy, you know why I spit up?
M: Why K?
K: Because I was sick.
M: Yeah, that's probably right.
me: K, I don't mind getting up with you when you're sick, or need to go to the bathroom, but getting up every 30 minutes to go to the bathroom or get you your water is... hard. It wears me down. I can't get any rest. And I might get sick too.
K: But I needed to.
me: I know, but your water is right there, and most of those times you hardly went to the bathroom at all. You need to switch to a pullup.
K: No!
M: K, you're going to need to start getting your own water. It's right there on the bookshelf, and then you won't have to
wake up your daddy all the time.
K: But I can't!
M: Yes you can K. You're old enough to get yourself water. And L, you are too.
L (sitting up): No! I'm free!

(here's the magical part, though you could miss it if you blinked, or were napping - in spite of being 90% exhausted and 100% grumpy, I'm smiling now, and so is M, and when we make eye contact we can barely suppress laughs)

me: Yes, you're three.
M: Also.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

family: ... hey! hey! you! you! get off of my...

... bed!

It's another edition of celebrity double tuesday!

This may be a stretch for some of you, especially if you didn't have a fixation of sorts on the Rolling Stones in the early 1970s, but the moment I saw this picture:

I thought of several of these:

Monday, December 20, 2010

family: ... I might be gone a long time...

from "Overheard conversations, a series"

K&L are playing with their toy horses. Hugo is one of the horses. So is Delilah. This explanation is probably unnecessary.

K: We might not see Hugo for a while. He's getting his bridle fixed.
L: Ok! We might not see Delilah for a couple whiles. Sheth going to be over they-a.

partners in crimes

Thursday, December 16, 2010

photo thursday: ...who guides this ship...

... dreaming through the seas...

Today you get a picture I took years ago and have always loved, but have never had a place to put. Which is the beauty of having a blog. It's like an on-line junk drawer/exhibition case, for stuff I want not only to keep but also to show off. Kind of.


Taken on the Washington Coast
(tri-x film image)

And in other news, we're heading into the last pre-Christmas lap and excitement is high, but I think we're going to make it.

K is half-day on Friday, after which she's on winter break. L is half-crazy all the time. M and I are often full-crazy and still figuring out this parenting thing, but I'm pretty sure we've nearly got it pinned down. Certainly by next week.

Everyone seems to be on better behavior, and I don't even think it has to do with the "he knows if you're awake" angle (which we don't tend to emphasize since I've always thought it an odd, semi-blackmail-y approach to behavior we'd like to encourage all year round).

I'm sure I just jinxed it, but it's been a nice change over November behavior.

Monday, December 13, 2010

family: ... wouldn't you like to ride...

... in my beautiful balloon...

note: edited 12/14 to add visuals.

Being another cautionary tale in movie selection/viewing:

The gods of children's films are lined up against me.

So far the girls and I have had a couple of bad experiences with movies, including The Three Pigs and Babe. Add to that our weekend experience with Up, a heartwarming animated movie from the same folks who bring you the "happiest place on earth." (Have I mentioned that I am apparently the only American with absolutely no interest in visiting either Disneyland or Disneyworld?)

Spoiler alert (although the girls and I are probably the only people who have not seen this movie, where "see" = having the images display in front of us but having the story shoot so far over our heads that we have no idea what's going on), anyway, I'm about to reveal key points of the story, up to but not including the actual end which we did not watch due to fear and sobbing in the assembled watchers.

So, this little animated feature starts with a logo of the magic castle which tells me everything is fine, this is from Mr. Disney who loves kids so much that he wanted everyone to be a kid forever. Or something. In any case, my guard was down. Or asleep. Or out to lunch.

Very quickly though, I realize we're in "deep water" (note: for actual water reference see the end of this movie review).

The movie starts with some black and white which tells me that the character in the movie is watching a movie himself, but tells the girls that our TV or the DVD is broken because it's not in color. Then, in short order, the boy meets a girl who shares his adventuring spirit but who breaks his arm (K: Where did he go? me: He fell off that board. K: But is he hurt? L: Where did he go? me: I guess so, it looks like that's an ambulance. L: No, it not an ambulanthe! Ith a car!! K: But is he going to the hospital? me: I don't know. L: It'th not a ambulanthe!) and then they're getting married and wanting babies and not being able to have babies and (K: What they doing? me: They're painting a nursery for a baby. K: They having a baby? L: What they doing? me: I think so, it looks like it. (oh crap!) No, they aren't. K: What? L: What Daddy? me: They wanted to have a baby, but it's not going to happen. K: What? L: What? me: They don't have a baby. K: Why not? L: What Daddy?!? me: No baby. K: But why? me: I don't know K. L: What? me: They wanted a baby but they aren't having one. K: Why? me: I don't know K. L: what?) then getting older and older and older until eventually the (now) old man's wife gets sick and dies and then he's alone in his house while all around him big buildings are being built and his peace is destroyed and... (K: Where is that girl? me: She got older. So did the boy. He's that old man now. L: What Daddy?! K: She got older? me: Yeah. K: But where is she? L: Yeah, where is she Daddy? me: she got sick, she...(crap!) she's not here any more. K: Is she died? me (quietly): Yes K, she died. L (loudly): Ith the died Daddy? me: Yes. Let's see what happens.

The man hits another man with his cane and is hauled away to court and sentenced to leave his home and be put into a nursing home. And the girls have no idea how we got from a broken black and white movie to here, but they're still sitting beside me.

And this is all the lead-up to the actual story! We haven't even started yet!!

Next thing we know, the house is floating over the city, held up by thousands of helium balloons, and there's a thunderstorm coming.

This is the point at which we first considered just turning it off. And in retrospect, I should have. The noise and lightning of the storm frightened both girls, and any "humor" associated with the chaos of the floating house in the storm was entirely lost.

From here we end up in the clouds. At least the house is in the clouds, and we are confused in our basement. Soon there is a pack of mean dogs, an oddly sweet bird (possibly a Big Bird association-by-size connection helps here?), the grumpy old man, and a hapless little boy explorer. All the girls focus on is the fact that the mean dogs grab the bird by the leg and hurt it badly. At this point we learn there are baby birds somewhere distant in the jungle, and that this bird ("Kevin" to the boy explorer) is a mama. And the girls start to really get worried.

How did the bird get hurt? Why? How can it get back to its babies? Why did the dogs bite it? Why won't that man help it? Whywhywhywhatwhatwhat? And I realize K is crying now, huddled in the corner of the couch.

Worse, she is embarrassed to be crying, and doesn't want either my comfort or my attention.

Uh, yeah, I was scared!

Note to those of you as clueless as I was: This is the second point at which I should have turned the damn thing off!

I reassure her that the bird will be ok, that it will get back to its babies, and that the dogs won't hurt it more. Note that I'm going on faith here, faith build entirely on my own childhood experience with Disney films, but now that I think about it, that's the same company that brought me the Headless Horseman among other sweet, family-oriented entertainment.

A dog that looks a little like our own beast shows up and acts somewhat nicely, sucking us all in, and then the bird is caught by the bad man (who controls all the mean dogs and has a big gun that shoots at the old man and the boy and the bird), and the boy and the old man need to rescue it. But the man is working on his own issues having to do with promises to his dead wife, and so ditches everyone. Or tries to.

Note: Any point from here on out would have been a great time to turn the TV off, but noooooooo.... I wanted to get to the happy place so K would be ok with all that I'd put her through to this point.

Mean dog chases ensue, captured bird images are shown, evil man dominates the screen. I imagine that things are taking a turn for the better when the grumpy old man makes a choice to help the bird, but this too is lost on the girls, and when K sobs that she doesn't want to watch it, that we should turn it off, and L agrees, I leap up and hit the OFF button.

What we looked like (pretty much)

K is rather traumatized, and even Saddle Club doesn't help, so we retire to the upstairs to read books about happy dragons and lambs and birthday parties.

Interestingly, possibly because even less registered on her, L didn't seem to have as strong/bad a reaction. She seemed to be picking up on K's reaction rather than having one of her own. Which is all irrelevant given that I had 2 crying girls on my hands, one truly sobbing and the other snuggling close to me for comfort and saying she is "cared."

So, I can't tell you exactly how the thing ends, but I'm guessing the grumpy old man helps the bird get back to her nest/babies, and the boy explorer gets back to his home in the city, and possibly the grumpy old man lives or maybe he doesn't since after this adventure he won't really have anything to live for, but I'm just as happy to have to speculate on this since we did get some nice reading in.

It's back to Curious George and Thomas the Tank Engine and Mary Poppins for us. And Saddle Club of course.

What struck me most, besides the pain of seeing K so traumatized but refusing my attentions, was the fact that she seemed to be embarrassed about her feelings. I worry at how well she'll be able to express herself when she's feeling something strongly? I wish she would just let it out and not be so conscious of her actions. Which may be an odd thing to hear me say, after all the complaining I've done about tantrums. But I have this (just developing) theory that the tantrums are as much about not knowing how to express oneself as they are about expressing some specific emotion like anger or frustration. Sadly, I suspect K has inherited some of this dislike of emotion from me. There's something about the sins of the father....

On a slightly different note:

The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day...

I did mention the rain in my Saturday night post. Well it kept us inside all day Sunday and not only did it remind me somewhat of the rain the night before L was born, but it apparently reminded our basement of that night as well because it caused a small river through it. Which means we sat watching this "family" movie beside a tiny class v rapid. And all I can say is "thank you M!" for suggesting the removable foam tiles that we later removed and so far I don't think we need to replace the bamboo floor for the 4th time, but I also want to say that we never once saw water in the basement before we remodeled it.

Oh yeah, and to paraphrase the great Johnny Cash*:

Disney Productions, you've been a livin' heck to us!

*(see San Quentin for the glorious original version)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

family: ... looks like another fall...

(written in bed, with approximately 20 million gallons of rainwater pouring down on the roof, trying to find its way in)

You gotta problem with something?

Today was a 2-Saddle Club/2-Thomas the Tank Engine/1-Curious George kind of day, and while I'm not proud of those numbers, I claim some small leeway because 1) the girls are both alive, 2) they're both asleep, 3) in their own big-girl beds, and 4) I lived through a 6yo birthday party in Kirkland at "Pump it Up," an indoor inflatable bounce party location. Already you know that's my idea of fun, but add to it a 45 minute drive in pouring rain, and it becomes the reason for the day.

If you've been reading along, and I don't blame anyone who hasn't, what with my hiatus and subsequent sporaticity, but if you have been, you know that this weekend M is out of town, and I'm "in charge" of the girls not 3 days after L has moved into her "big girl bed." So you know I was looking forward to getting out of the house and to this birthday party.

I practically had to drag K across the parking lot (and through ankle-deep puddles) once we got there, with her saying "why did you bring me?" and "I'm too shy!" Damned if I was going to turn back at that point!

(I'll be honest though, I can completely relate to her attitude. It's pretty much spot on how I feel when faced with similar situations. So what could I do except mutter understanding but unintelligible mutterings and pull her along. Which I did.)

Once inside the building she needs to go to the bathroom. This is the girl who can go the entire day without one potty break while at school. And she just went before we left home. Maybe it's the sound of rushing water from all the runoff? Anyway, we manage that, then head down to "arena A" where the party is in full swing. And by "full swing" I mean there are small kids (boys and girls) racing around among the huge inflatable bounce houses, obstacle courses and slides. K buries her head in the back of my knees.

A friend of hers screams excitedly at her and comes running. K buries herself deeper into the backs of my legs. Her friend wants to go crawling over the obstacles with her. K wants to crawl back home.

Ultimately, it takes me going into the obstacle course, helping her up the soft climbing wall, pulling her over the bump, for her to do it. And then we have to do it again. And then the next thing I know she's joined the gang, all screaming and climbing and bouncing and sliding, with K screaming louder than anyone else. Whew! Mission accomplished?

We both managed to survive the 1.5 hour party (we're 30 minutes late), with 2 potty breaks, some pizza and cake, and then it's back into traffic and the storm to drive home and get L.

But here's one of the things that reminds me of what K can be. As I'm driving out of the parking lot, she's digging in her little pirate bag of booty, pulling out a pirate bracelet and a pirate necklace and pirate coin purse (?!?) and then a pirate tattoo. And I'm thinking but not saying, that L will be mighty jealous when she sees all this. And K pulls out a second tattoo and out of the blue says "Now L can have one too." And I say "Really K?" and she looks at me like I'm nuts and says "Yeah." And I fall all over myself to say how sweet this is, that she's going to share with her sister.

This is the same girl who, last night, was kicking in the tub so violently because the washcloth I got her was "too stretched out" that I swooped down and lifted her out... by her ankles! The same girl who told me she hated me and that she was never going to talk to me again.

Somehow this tattoo sharing thing balanced out the other stuff pretty well. It even almost made the birthday party worth it. And the girls were (fairly) well behaved this afternoon and evening, letting the "can I have dessert?" begging go after only a few whiny complaints.

So, if we don't wash away overnight, and assuming we get a decent amount of sleep, I think we're looking pretty good to all still be here when M gets back tomorrow afternoon. It's a lot of "ifs" but that's what I live on these days. And I probably just jinxed it anway.

Sleep well everyone. Please!

Friday, December 10, 2010

family: ... i wash my face...

from another overheard conversation:

L: Mama, what are tethe called?
M: Um… they're 'sanitary napkins.'
L: Yeah (nodding), tethe are napkinth. I need tethe to wipe my face. (starts to tuck two into her purth)
M: Ah ….
me (thinking): don't make eye contact… don't make eye contact….

Thursday, December 9, 2010

photo thursday: ... come on and safari with me...

it's photo thursday,

wherein I get to post any damn random picture I want and then maybe try to tie it into themes from earlier in the week. Luckily, I've been horrible about posting lately, so there's nothing to tie into, and that means I can post this picture, one of my favorite of Hookipa, near Mom's house.

November surf (2004)

I took this as my older sister and I were driving up to the house of some friends in Haiku. We stopped at the overlook and I snapped a few photos. The artfully grainy look is unintentional, a result of my having run out of film and needing to borrow a couple of rolls from Mom. Mom had a couple of rolls, but they were at least 3 years expired, so every one of the pictures had unexpected effects. Which I sort of like. Neat trick, that thing about saving film until it's waaaaaay too old to use. And then using it. Thanks Mom!

This was during a trip I took for Thanksgiving, 2004. I met my sister and her family on Maui and we all stayed at Mom's house. It was a lot of fun for all of us*, and I think back to that trip regularly, with happiness.

Since then we've had K, and then L, and then somehow life has come rushing in on us like an incoming tide, and we manage to get up and make breakfast and get dressed and do whatever it is we need to do during the day, only to then make dinner and get undressed and crawl into bed. And then put L back into her big-girl bed. And put her back again. And again....

(* M was in NYC with her own mother, doing things like watching the Macy's Parade live, something that would likely never appear on my "life list," but I'm happy for them.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

family: ... go to sleep little babe...

Last night was a watershed night for us. And it had nothing to do with the fact that President Obama had earlier in the week caved into the Republican demands for extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich (and the middle class). No, it was more important than that. It was...

The first night L slept in her "big girl bed."

Another way to phrase this is, this was the first night in which L was not caged/restrained. Imagine getting used to sleeping with a pet... an animal that goes (relatively) peacefully into its cage every night but really wants to come join you in bed. And then imagine deciding for some reason to let it sleep without that cage. And imagine how much it's going to want to climb into bed with you. It was kind of like that.

Except L isn't really an animal, much, so she probably doesn't have to worry about being picked up by the Humane Society.

In the last week, M has somehow managed to find and buy a used bed in good shape on Craigslist. She also managed to find a decent mattress, and she and L picked out sheets and a comforter. The idea being that we get L involved and then she's invested in actually *using* the bed. That's the idea.

Conveniently, M had class last night, which meant that I was in charge of actually getting L to stay in her bed. (Also convenient, M is out of town this weekend, so just about the time L is over the initial excitement about having a big girl bed, I'll be cowering alone in my room, waiting for the sky to fall down, or at least for L to come wandering into the room.)

Both K and L were excited about the bed, and I managed to get them into their respective beds after K crawled in with L while I took off a comforter on K's bed. Then it was time for bed. I tucked them both in, started singing the standard bedtime tunes (Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Jingle Bells) when L insists she needs to go to the bathroom.

Ok, fair enough. I walk her in, help her out of her diaper, and she pees. I'll give her that. She did have to pee. We go back out, tuck her in, I start singing again, and L needs to go to the bathroom again. I tell her no, she doesn't, but she insists. We repeat the previous routine, without the peeing, and I point out that she didn't need to go. She says "But I needed too, Daddy!" like stating something that is a bald-faced lie and contradicts the facts is normal. (Come to think of it, what with Fox News and the general state of our politics, I guess it *is* normal. Sadly, this is the world our girls are growing up in....)

Back into bed. To her credit, K has remained in her bed, but is enjoying the circus. L starts singing "daily dog walk!" while kicking off her new sheets/comforter. Uh, you picked those out, remember? You're supposed to be invested in using them! Her sister provides a gratifying laugh track.

I finally manage to get through the songs, kiss K goodnight, try to kiss L goodnight, and leave. She calls out that she needs to go to the bathroom. I say she doesn't and go downstairs.

There are 4 minutes of blissful silence. Then:

L (shouting): Daddy!
me (softly): Ha!As if!!
L (shouting more loudly): Daddy!!
me (leaving the dishes in the sink and walking to the bottom of the stairs): L, do you want me to come up? Because if I do, I'm going to move you to your crib.
L: But Daddy! I need to go to the bathroom!!
me: No you don't.
L: But I do!
me: Good night L.
L (new tactic): Daddy!
me: What?
L: I need more water!
me: Seriously?
L: I do, Daddy. I do!
me (starting up the stairs): grumblegrumblegrumble....
K (still in her own bed): She needs water and can't reach the sink.
me: I know.

I take her cup into the bathroom and fill it and return it to her. She sucks water down, drinking more than she ever would if she wasn't stalling. Finally she's finished and we park the cup on the bookshelf.

me: Good night L. You need to lie down and go to sleep. You're keeping your sister up and you both need a good night's sleep.

I go back downstairs and start reading email, figuring it's quieter than washing dishes. Things remain quiet and I move to the sink again, and at some point realize that L is sobbing upstairs. I go back upstairs and she's lying on her bed, crying loudly, tears soaking into those new IKEA sheets. (Disclaimer - the girl can turn on the waterworks at the drop of a hat.)

me (grateful that K is solidly asleep now): What's up L?
L: I'm scared.
me: Scared? Why are you scared? There's nothing to be scared about.
L: I want to go downstairs. To go to the bathroom downstairs.
me: You don't need to go to the bathroom L.
L: But I do, I do Daddy! I want to go downstairs.
me: No L. You need to go to sleep in your big girl bed.
L (headfake) : I want to go down to the couch.
me: Uh...
L: Please Daddy? I'm scared.

In the end, I caved (we call me the "cave man" in private, keep it under your hat) and carried her downstairs with the clear understanding that if she got up off the couch she would be going back upstairs and into her crib. And she fell asleep there while I washed dishes, and M carried her up to her big girl bed when she got back from class, and we all slept relatively peacefully, all night long, in our respective beds. And it was good.

Looking forward to flying solo this weekend? You betcha!

Co-conspirators, ready for bed
(an evening in November)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

definitions: overalls / vegetarian

after a pause to catch our breath, it's another double-definition tuesday:

overalls - noun: an ellipse, egg-shaped

K: Daddy, want to see my drawings from school?
me: Sure.
K (spreading out multiple pages of swirling lines): Here. And here. And here....
me: Wow. I like this one, it looks like a football.
K: What?
L: I want to thee it!
me (helping L up onto the window seat): This one, it looks like a football to me.
K: What?
me: A football. You know, like a long, stretched out circle.
L: You mean like a overalls?
me: ???
K: What?
me: 'Overalls?'
L (nodding enthusiastically): Yeah. Overalls!
me (dawn breaking): You mean ovals?
L (still nodding with abandon): Yeah Dada. Yeah.
me (muttering): Overalls....

vegetarian - noun: an animal doctor

K (playing with her horses in the kitchen): Mommy, I need you to be the ve... ve... vegetarian.
M: You mean the veterinarian?
K: You need to be the doctor.
a bit later, I walk into the kitchen.
M (sitting at the table with the newspaper): We're the vegetarians.
me: ???
M: The doctors for the horses. Have you seen the scratches on Comanche's legs? They're from raccoons.
me: Oh, oh, yeah, I know. Ginger has the same things on her legs. I told K that we need to put salve on them and wrap them and that she can't be ridden for 2 days.
K (pleased to have companions in her game): Yeah.
M: Oh, wow. I'm a lot stricter. I said a week.
me: A week? You must be, like, one of those vegan vegetarians.
K: ???
M: Yeah. (goes back to the paper)

Monday, December 6, 2010

family: ... 'cause when i look into your eyes....

Warning, this is probably scarier than anything you saw on Halloween:

You're getting creepy....

Up to now, we've mostly managed to dodge the whole princess thing, at least to this point. But K and L now have some hand-me-down Barbies and I'm worried. At least one of the dolls is Cinderella. Or so I'm told. I don't know Cinderella from Snow White, but K seems to, and she assures me that this one is Cinderella.

The girls seem to like the Barbies, playing with them fairly often. They're not head-over-heels about them though, and that gives me a small glimmer of hope.

Disclaimer: I had GI Joes when I was a kid. Probably while in the 10-12 year old range. And these were the most awesome, original GI Joes. I had an astronaut Joe, and at least one of the older, soldier ones, the ones that were driven off market by the Viet Nam war. I wanted a frogman Joe, and a Jeep, but don't believe I got either. In any case, I thought they were cool. So I admit it, when I was a kid I did the "action figure" thing myself.

And my sisters had Barbies at the same time. Including Skipper (kind of a younger sister Barbie) and the Malibu Barbie (the one with a tan), not to mention the newly created bendable-legs Barbie (or whatever she was called). And beyond the fact that these Barbies were no where near as cool as GI Joe (he had a space capsule! and a rubber life raft!!) I don't remember much caring one way or another about them.

Now, though, as a dad, these dolls freak me out. They're very strange creations. They're adult women, for one thing, and not the kind of thing I'd look for as a plaything for my under 5yo daughters. For another thing, they're all about the belongings, the dresses, the accessories, the shoes and belts and....

But even worse are their bodies. I look at these things and, in addition to being creeped out, I wonder what message my daughters are getting, beyond the fact that they need to have large, pert, nipple-less breasts and long, narrow legs. Honestly, these things are like a cross between a weird porn toy and a regular kid's plaything. And I feel a bit awkward and embarrassed every time I'm asked to pull a dress on or off one of them. They don't seem to mind, don't even seem to notice, but I'm aware of this fake woman thing I'm holding in my hand. I have no problem with changing a diaper on a baby dolly, but to put a tennis outfit onto Barbie... ugh!

One odd update I've noticed - the Barbies these days seem to be wearing built-in underwear. I don't remember this from my childhood (not that I was checking either), but all of these have some kind of subtly embossed underpants on, a nod to someone's modesty. And I"m grateful for small favors like this.

I'm hoping this phase passes and that we move onto something else, like boy teen singers....

Friday, December 3, 2010

family: ... three little... years...

three years!

It's hard to believe this:

has become this...

and after these three years there's not much I want to say except thank you for joining your mom and sister and me on this wild and crazy ride!

not karate!