Sunday, April 29, 2007

In the great green room, There was a telephone

In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of—

All I have to do is open to the first page of Goodnight Moon and Lily begins crooning, “drin-rin-ding-a ling.” I don’t know why making a telephone ring sound on every single page that the telephone appears is so important to her. I have concluded that some adult (it could’ve been me, but I don’t remember) must have been responsible for interpreting the black object pictured on the bedside dresser as a telephone. There is no actual object in her daily life that looks like that, especially not anything that we either call a telephone or that makes a ringing sound.

In any case, she does not “drin-ding” on the final page. She reserves that page to say, “night-ni.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Coloring books

We hardly ever use coloring books in our house. I think that we have a couple, but the children don’t seem to ask for them and we don’t really push them. Free-form drawing on scrap paper with crayons is a favorite pastime. Sometimes, I will join in, and what I draw might influence Olivia’s drawings for that session. And then, on her own, Olivia will draw something that looks like a red car, on her own and out of the blue.

Now, if you were to ask Lily what color is that car in the drawing, she would say, “blue!” I don’t believe she is color-blind, but simply uni-colored. In fact, any sentence addressed to her containing the word “color” gets a response of “blue!”

She will usually, but not always, listen to what I think the color is, and dutifully repeat what I say.

“No, this is red, Lily. Can you say red? Red.”


“Very good. Now, what color is this?”


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Stringing together two words

Lilian is 20 months old. The past couple of weeks, she started stringing two words together. “Blanket. Fwog blanket.” “Mo’ milk.” “Shoose (shoes). Shoose off.” “Mo’ ba’na.”
She is also naming more things. Still won’t try to say her sister’s name, but “bunny,” “rock,” and “book” are all good.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The three friends of Olivia

Olivia hasn’t had access to children her age for over a year. She’ll be starting a new pre-school this week, where she will be with 15 other children her age twice a week. In the meantime, if she can’t or doesn’t want to play with her sister, she plays with Reynacassel, Palley, and Tombo. The idea of Tombo comes from the movie “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” but her friend Tombo is not merely a copy in the character of the movie. Her Tombo has developed beyond that. Sort of like when a character in a popular TV series is spun-off to their own show. As for Reynacassel and Palley…well, they have no known existence prior to or beyond her own creation of them.

Lately, Reynacassel is sort of a black sheep. She is constantly calling Olivia “stupid,” which is duly reported to her nearest parent, who will usually advise her tell Reynacassel that she won’t play with her anymore until she can be nicer, or something along those lines. When I see Olivia alone in another room suddenly push the air near her and say, “Go away!” I can be fairly certain it is Reynacassel at work. Palley is frequently sick, so is more of a discussion topic than playmate. Tombo is the only one that can counted on to play nice with Olivia.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Snow in April

I love spring in Wisconsin. All three days of it. One of the three was not today.

I lived for eleven years in the Kansas City area. There's a place that knows how to do Spring! But that's what I get--better spring in Kansas City, better winter and summer in Madison. Autumn is a toss-up.

Anyway, children know what to do with a mid-April snow. They love it, want to be out in it, making footprints, shoveling, and then they realize they are cold and need to be inside "right now." Very in the moment.

As you can see, Lily is recovered from her virus and overnight at the hospital.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Hospitals are normal

Yesterday, my wife expressed her gratitude for the good health of our family, with which we are blessed and fortunate. I would add health insurance to that gratitude. In months 20 through 40 of her young life, Olivia has seen mommy (maternity ward), daddy (ER trip on misdiagnosis), and little sister (dehydration, virus) in hospital garb on a gurney or hospital bed. In her world, it is normal for a family member to be in the hospital once in a year. "Gurney," "stethescope" and some mispronunciation of "ambulance" are part of her vocabulary.

Doing that without health insurance? ugh.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


Oh, wow! Will someone remind me about a week before Easter to review this whole candy thing? Our children have very little candy ever, and today Olivia may have equaled her intake from the past year, including Halloween. At one point at our friend Louise’s house, a space around a spinning chair was cleared out and Olivia ran round and round pushing the chair, just to let her work off the sugar.

You’d think that after a morning of some candy, followed by dessert at brunch, that one of the two parents would say, as we found more candy provided by our dinner host, “Oh, thank you! Now children, you know you can’t have any more today, so we’ll save this for tomorrow.” But do we say that? Nooooo…

Lily had less sugar. She was interrupted by the fifteen diaper changes from diarrhea. Da Wife and I started keeping track who did the last change so we could insist that it was the other one’s turn.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

One way to rehydrate

Well, this is the child that was vomiting three days in a row, leading to a much-too-sudden discussion with an emergency room surgeon about his opinion on the necessity of immediate surgery (examination and test results led him to conclude it was not needed). One moment I'm at work typing on the computer, and not too many moments later entering a pediatric emergency waiting room with a very convincing rural landscape mural.

All is well, so it seems. She had an overnight stay to get rehydrated and is back at home, recovering from her adnovirus. BAM!! -- don't blink, this happens fast. Hopefully, she will forget all about three days of crying.