Thursday, July 31, 2008

Menu for a night without momma

Here's how the girls and I got excited about dinner one night earlier this month. I drew the various pieces of dinner and they had to guess what it was. Can you guess? Hint: no bananas were consumed in this dinner, and colors may or may not be an approximation of actual item.

I hope that the girl's draw more like mommy than daddy when they get older.

(I mostly drew this-- the red object at upper right was done by the elder child.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bunny trails

Lately, our children have been viewing the following entertainment/ educational programming: Berenstain Bears, Dora the Explorer, Word World, Super Why, Curious George, the Backyardigans, a Scholastics series based on popular children’s books, and Dragon Tales. I try to watch some of it so as to keep up with some of their conversations. For example, one of the Backyardigan episodes involves a race in which the winner earns a gold medal, and Austin won by never giving up and being well prepared. My children have referenced this many times in conversation, usually not directly, so it was helpful for me to have seen that episode.

For all that, I have no idea where Genevieve's terminology for "bunny trails" comes from. As in, we'll be driving down a street in our gas sucking mini van and she'll declare: "This road is a bunny trail."

She's been a little hard to pin down as to the specific attributes of said "bunny trail," and she denies knowledge of any specific source of the term. Who told her it was a bunny trail? How does she know?

"It just is."

Bunny trails tend to be side streets, more likely one without curbing. They aren't busy roads, and once she said, "You can see the bunny tracks along the road." That is not, however, a consistent attribute. The street we live on is generally not a bunny trail (we do have curb and gutter). And the importance of the designation? Beats me. It's simply important enough for her to talk about.

Price of raspberries

How much are raspberries worth?

No, I am not talking about dollars per pound. They are dentacious to the pocketbook at a grocery store, and by the time you get them at the store they have lost that special umph, that zippy tang of direct unadultered summer on the tongue.

The real cost of raspberries this summer in our backyard is "how many mosquito bites per berry" are you willing to put up with. Oh sure, I could've gone in and put on long pants, a long sleeve shirt and a mosquito net hood. But where's the sport in that.

Tonight, I lasted four minutes. Eighteen berries (twelve for me, six for Reesa), and three bites (mosquitoes on me). My hands spent as much time swatting at insects as searching and picking berries. Ultimately, it wasn't the actual bites that drove me away, but rather the lack of joy in the pursuit of the berries under the harrassing attack of the blood-sucking bombers.

Note: I made up "dentacious," as in "That which creates a significant dent in another object." As in, I was too lazy and hurried to lose momentum on publishing this post, and didn't look up a real word.

Photo is mine.

PS -- we welcome a new cousin to the family. Alexandra Paige (? do I have that right?), born in good health yesterday to my sister.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

County fair talk

Last night I was reflecting on the great job done by the people at the pre-school and childcare center that our children attend twice a week, and today my wife reported on another specific instance of why we think highly of them.

It was field trip day to the county fair for Genevieve's class, and my wife took both of my daughter's (neither had class today, but they were both invited). Following the instructions to arrive 15 minutes prior to bus departure, my wife listened to the pre-departure safety and expectations talk.

First, the instructor (Barb) talked about how they would proceed to and board the city bus, and noted exactly who were the safe adults (the teachers and parents). On the bus there might be some people who looked nice and were nice, and some who looked nice and weren't nice, and who didn't look nice but were actually nice, and some who didn't look nice and were not nice. And no one could be able to tell who was who--not the teachers, not the parents, and not the children. So it was very important to remember exactly who the safe adults were, and only leave the bus or walk with one of the safe adults.

My wife noted, and I agreed, that this explanation seemed to cover all of the important points with the right amount of emphasis without getting hung up on who might be "dangerous" or "scary" or whatever else it is that we adults might have apprehension about.

Then came the expectations about the fair, including an itinerary of what they might expect to do, and what might be possible depending on behavior and /or time. Again, a good setup to create a framework for appropriate behavior and what to look forward to doing next.

I try to provide my kids with that sort of framework on the days that I am home with them -- if only I could do it with such ease!

All photos from the fair had other children in them (and no permission), so I'll post a cell phone photo of Reesa from a few days ago.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blood sucker

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that DEET in concentrations up to 30% is okay to use on children over two months of age. I'm not a big fan of intentionally spreading synthetic chemicals in the environment or onto my body, but it seems that after 50 years of use, I can take a look at risks and lack of effective alternatives and say, "Spray it on!"

This is on the basis of the discomfort of the bite, which for our youngest child is quite serious. Yes, we'll reduce the chances of West Nile Virus and tick bites, but it is just the scratching and lost sleep over the bites that makes it worth while to me.

How bad are the mosquitoes? One recent night, I was weighing the pros and cons of bathing the children in the evening. My wife thought I just didn't want the hassle of bathing them. "Oh no," I assured her, "it's not that. You see, they might wash off too much of their bug spray before bed, and I want them to have it on overnight." The mosquitoes are bad inside the house on some nights.

Friday, July 4, 2008

I have turned into my father

I admit that the pop music that got airplay in my youth wasn't, in the whole, better/ smarter/ less banal than is currently served up in 2008. However, I now have a different role in life and find "pop" music annoying in a way I wouldn't have predicted prior to thinking about being a father. Sometimes, it's just plain wrong.

I should start keeping track. Or maybe not. Anyway, the infraction that got me typing now is "1 2 3 4" by Feist:

One, two, three, four, five, six, nine, or ten
Money can't buy you back the love that you had then

And just to make sure that we reinforce bad counting for the younger kids, that couplet is repeated. It's almost enough to drive me back to "This Old Man" and "B-I-N-G-O." Almost.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Recent reading

Can't read enough for those girls. They love books. We love the public library. Current and recent reading favorites for the kiddies, from our local library:

The Usborne Children's Bible
This was too old for Reesa, though she would look at the pictures. I thought it was very accessible for children in the 5-9 year old range. For Genevieve, it was an introduction to these stories.

The Gospel Cinderella
According to our elder critic: "Crooked Foster Mother, when she was a little girl, she was mean to her babysitters, so when she grew up that's why she was mean to Cinderella." I think she gave it four stars.

Thomas the Tank Engine: Story Collection
Okay, I requested it more than the girls -- 508 pages of trains and not one #@*% princess. YES!

Smile, Principessa!
There's this family, the Razzi's. There's mama Razzi, and there's papa... (get it?) who,not so incidentally, takes thousand of pictures of his children, SNAP SNAP SNAP! A very nice book for siblings, though by the fourteenth time of hearing/reading it on our brief little vacation, it had worn out this poppy's welcome.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Recently overheard from elder child

"But all of the other kids in my class get to go to Disney. You have to take me there!"

"Poppy, I want to change my name. I don't like it. It is too long and too old fashioned."

(Said in a wail) "But I did eat most of my dinner! I want dessert!"