Thursday, February 28, 2008


The girls enjoyed the full lunar eclipse last week, excited enough by the vision to spend almost ten minutes outside in 5 degree Fahrenheit weather to see it. (Thanks to grandmaman for putting it on my calendar.)

But they haven't been able to parse the pronunciation or comprehend the grammar. For adults, the language would be:

I will watch the lunar eclipse.
When will the moon be in eclipse?

For our children, this translates to:

Reesa: I watch the moon turn clips.
Genevieve: When will the moon turn clips?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Washer store

Last night, the entire family was in the car driving home on a street lined with many small businesses, and Reesa got very excited about the washer store. (Adults know this as an "appliance store.") For that girl, it was all about the washer store -- we passed the washer store, the washer store was open, did you see the washer store was open, can we go to the washer store? 

It had taken us about four seconds to pass the appliance store, and I thought about why it was that this particular store front had captured her attention. Then I thought of the Don Freeman book, A Pocket for Corduroy, that takes place in a laundromat.

"Oh, did you want to see the place where Corduroy was?"


Laundromats and appliance stores, all the same thing to a two-year old.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


During the car ride home at the end of our work/school day yesterday, I talked to the children about their role in helping me with the Valentine's gift for my wife. I needed to sneak in a large piece of red card stock with which to create many many hearts to hide around the house, and a few chocolate truffles. The general gist of the conversation went something like this--

Daddy: "Okay, girls, when we get home, after you take off your boots and coats, I'll need to to distract momma in the bathroom, okay?"

Genevieve: "Sure. What will we do, daddy?"

Daddy: "Umm, how about if you take her there to show her the pictures you drew today?"

Genevieve: "Okay."

"While you're doing that, I'll sneak the present in, then I'll let you know when I'm done doing that."

"And then you'll give her the present?"

"Not until tomorrow."


"But it's a surprise, okay?"

"Oh, sure. It's a surprise!"

"Reesa, do you understand? We don't want to tell momma, because it's a surprise."

Reesa: "Ohh-kaaay."

So we arrive home, troop through the snow, and no sooner than she gets one foot in the house and sees her mother, Reesa screams, "We've got a PRESENT!"

And Genevieve tugs on Reesa's sleeve and proclaims, "Reesa, SHHHHH! Remember, it's a surprise!"

Hmm. Note to self -- Gonna have to work a little bit on how to approach these exciting topics with children.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Aardvark

In our house, it's more real than Santa Claus, scarier than the monster in the basement... it's the Aardvark!! Aiiiiieeeeeeeee!

Reesa and Genevieve have a lot to say about the Aardvark. It's an animal, according to Reesa, and more specifically a horsey animal. No, Genevieve thinks it's like a satyr, except with a long nose. Really long, and it gets bigger each time she talks about it. Part fish tale, part troll-under-the-bridge, and part reality (because toys that are not picked up really do occasionally disappear for a long time), the Aardvark straddles their real and completely imaginary worlds. Unlike many other monsters they've heard about, they haven't had the benefit of seeing a picture of one in a story picture book. I believe this is because Aardvarks aren't in either the first or second ring of anthropomorphized animals approved for use in children's story books. And, since the girls do not currently get a subscription to "Fatherhood in three easy lessons," they do not have the benefit of seeing the illustration with this article.

Reesa doesn't like the squeaking sound that the Aardvark uses to wake her up, and she thinks the nose is as wide as she can reach. Which makes it as big as a nose could possibly get!

And where does the Aardvark keep its toy stash? Careful analysis has revealed that most of these items end up in toy bins that are kept in storage to be periodically rotated with the toys currently on hand. Some disappear from the household, going off to other children. So all parents hail the Aardvark, the toy vacuum excuse for toy culls!

[NOTE: This article has a hyperlink to a 4 minute audio file of the girls talking about the Aardvark. Let me know if it was an easy experience to link, or suggestions for improvement. It's the first try here.]

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Five little peanuts, uh...ducks

On Saturday, Genevieve gave her rendition of Five Little Ducks, demonstrating the action of the song to us at her lunch table while making use of peanuts for the little ducks and a brazil nut for the mother duck.

Five Little Ducks

Five little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack,"
but only four little ducks came back...

Four little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack,"
but only three little ducks came back...

Three little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack,"
but only two little ducks came back...

Two little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack,"
but only one little duck came back...

One little duck went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack,"
but none of the five little ducks came back...

Sad mother duck went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack,"
and all of the five little ducks came back.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Here Comes the Cat!

Someone by the name of Hannah Esrick has posted a series of philosophical questions for kids that are raised by Vladimir Vagin's picture book, "Here Comes the Cat!" For example:

The cat enters the mouse city pulling a big piece of cheese for the mice to share. The collar and leash are taken off of the cat. The mice eat the cheese and the cat gets a back rub and milk.
  1. Does everyone benefit?
  2. Do the mice care for the cat?
  3. Does the cat care for the mice?
  4. Can you do kind acts without caring?
The educational corporation Scholastic has an animated version of "Here Comes the Cat" included with their "Corduroy...and more stories of friendship" DVD. When Genevieve watches it, the last thing on her mind is philosophy. She screams with laughter, doubles over and bounces with excitement. It is currently the most hilarious thing she's ever seen. I like watching it with her, simply because she has so much fun. I'm certainly not going to ruin that by interjecting philosophy.

Scholastic has at few other DVD's based on kids stories (yeah for public libraries!). One of them has three Robert McCloskey stories (not animated), including "Make Way for Ducklings." Another DVD features one of Reesa's favorite books, "Click Clack Moo. Cows That Type," and I think the DVD is more funny than the book.