Saturday, February 28, 2009

So far, so good

As previously mentioned in three posts in January (this one, this one, and this one), Genevieve and I some serious issues with drop-off and pick-up time at her pre-school, and that we had a moderated dialog to attempt some resolution. Since then, our pre-school transitions have improved greatly. The first week following the dialog still had residual whining and reluctance, but with reminders Genevieve eventually cooperated. Since then, the pick-ups have gone smoothly with only minor exception, and few reminders. I arrive, set a timer with at least two minutes, and inform her of the time she has remaining to play, say goodbye, get water, etc. At the conclusion of the time, she is good (in that five-year old way) about getting dressed and catching the bus on time.

On Wednesday, she had a relapse, but even that meltdown showed the utility of our agreement. After the tantrum went on too long, I calmly informed her about the agreement, and that her meltdown meant that she needed some time to calm down and that would come as a time-out when we arrived at home. Her crying continued for a while, but her tantrum subsided and she got dressed in her winter gear and walked (frozen tears all the way) to the bus on time.

Picture book

Genevieve authored a 5 page picture book recently. Here it is…

Can't tell a book by its cover

Can't tell a book by its cover

Every book had a cover. This is hers. Genevieve hasn’t decided on the name of the main character.

At the ball

At the ball

Our protagonist is wearing her dress, complete with a picture of a girl flying a kite on the chest of the gown, to the ball. In the left background, you can see another princess dancing with a prince. (The circles on the neck are rows of jeweled necklaces bedecking the swan-like princess neck, straight from a UK book entitled Imagine you’re a Princess!)

The music house

The music house

After the ball, our princess returns to her music box house…

In two straight lines they broke their bread, and brushed their teeth, and went to bed

In two straight lines they broke their bread, and brushed their teeth, and went to bed

And goes to sleep in her bed (bottom) along with (in ascending order) mommy, baby, and daddy. (The Ludwig Bemelmans influence is obvious here.)

Good morning sunshine!

Good morning sunshine!

In the morning, the sun shines through the window and the girl wakes up!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Office visit

On occasion, one or both of my girls will be dropped off at the office. Maybe because her sister has a doctor or dentist visit. Maybe because She-Who-Is-Trying-To-Run-A-Business has a mid-day client meeting. The latter was the reason for the most recent lunchtime visit from both children.

To get to my first floor office, we must go through the lobby, and every trip through the lobby is accompanied by a plea to play restaurant. In the center of the lobby is a large table, with a decorative vase on top. The space underneath is the restaurant.

“I’ll do food, and Reesa does drinks,” Genevieve announces.

“Yeah,” Reesa chirps, taking her place at her own window. “What do you want?”

“A veggie burger, waldorf salad, and ice tea.”

“Oh, okay, umm…we don’t have that,” Genevieve informs me. “Our food menu is there, and the drinks are on that menu.” She points to the building directory, and a sign for the health clinic on an upper floor.

“I see. Do you still have macaroni and cheese?”

“I have your drink, daddy.” Reesa either has ice tea for me, or didn’t want to wait anymore.

“Yes, we do have macaroni and cheese. Here you go.” Genevieve does not want to miss her part.

“Thank you. Here’s the money.” I give them air money.

Once inside the department cube farm, they go from cube to cube looking for the stuffed animals and saying hello to my co-workers. We go to the break room to eat lunch.

“Can we pretend it’s a cafeteria, daddy?”


Twenty-five minutes, some food and a potty break later, it is clear that we need to leave the office. We bundle into our coats and head across the street for something better than a shopping mall on a cold winter day — the hospital skybridge.

I work close to a hospital with a heated, carpeted, windowed, enclosed pedestrian bridge that spans a busy city artery. It is a perfect to go with young kids to burn off some ya-ya’s. On another day, we might even go all the way over to the hospital to go eat in a real cafeteria. But fifteen minutes on the bridge and She-Who-Had-A-Successful-Meeting is on her way to pick up the kids, and I am soon on my way back to another meeting.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dots and squares and floor plans

You might remember playing dots and squares as a child. Well, there is another turn taking game with pencil and paper that Genevieve and I engaged in on the bus. I call it layout. Genevieve might call it floor plan.

Each take turns drawing a room or significant object as you would see it on a floor plan. I draw the driveway, she does the garage. I block out the kitchen, she draws the basement (yeah, I know, different level, but I just go with it). I draw the fire pit, she draws the swing set.

The wheels turn inside her head. My intention is for her to understand it like a very personal map, on a very scale more accessible than any commercial road map.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Reesa complained that her ear ached at 5:30 this morning. I was putting away dishes in the kitchen and trying to get ready to leave for work, and thought that it would be much better for my chances of making the 6:28 if she were mistaken. I gave her some pain reliever, changed out her wet overnight pull-up diaper, and sent her for some cuddling with mommy.

I had forgotten about it until my wife called me at work.

"Reesa is asking why her name brand pain reliever isn't working yet, and that her ear hurts. Know anything about this?"

So I fessed up and after a couple of hours I learned that Genevieve would not have to come and hang-out with daddy while Reesa visited the doctor, as other arrangements for Genevieve's care were made. I asked my wife to give me a call to let me know how the doctor's visit went.

She-Who-Usually-Takes-Sick-Children-To-The-Doctor didn't miss a beat. "I can tell you how it went right now. We'll show up at the clinic, check in at the desk, and wait for a long time. Then they'll call us in, and we'll wait a long time, and an intern will see her, and we'll wait some more, and then the doctor will come in and prescribe antibiotics."

And that's exactly what happened. Followed by more crying and whining from Reesa.

Some days, I am soooooo happy that I get to go to work.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

French Valentine

Reesa's Valentine's wishes (above):
"Dis is in French writing. It says
Dear Daddy
Happy Valentine's Day
Dear Daddy
That was in French writing"

Genevieve's Valentine wish was to the point.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dry run

Today, my wife and I took Genevieve to a kindergarten introduction at the local K-2 school. Parents bring their soon-to-be-entering-kindergarten child, and parents get a broad overview of most pertinent facts and children get to march of with their soon-to-be-classmates to go do art and sing with the kindergarten staff.

As parents who did not grow up in our current "city" of residence (in New York State, this would not qualify as a city, but hey, whatever), this was our first experience of our local school, so we were learning as much or more than Genevieve. But the biggest reason to have this thing wasn't for the kids, or for the school to get that paperwork in from the parents. It was a dry run... uh, wet run for first time moms to practice their crying skills as the kids gather up and file out of the room. I don't know that this will make September go more smoothly, but She-Who-Sees-Her-Daughter-Entering-College-Really-Soon noted that there were many wet eyes in the room.

As for Genevieve, she loved it. She could probably start tomorrow, as far as she is concerned.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Butterfly map

Last night, Genevieve picked up a pile of things I dumped on the floor when doing a minor repair on a coffee table, and she wanted a reward. I was up for some fun, so I had her choose a non-food thing, and she chose a "butterfly map." Not having a butterfly map lying around the house, I thought about drawing one but elected instead to start with the computer, hoping to find some map-like thing with great pictures or art. I can try to draw butterflies, but it's really cool to see the wide variety of wing patterns that exist "in the real world."

I found a site on which you could click on your state and county and see a list of photo links to butterflies sighted in that locale, and somehow we got around to the NOVA website and found The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies. It is the story of the North American monarch butterfly migration, and is available for viewing in six segments, so the two girls and I started watching it. It became our bedtime story -- Reesa fell asleep to it -- and Genevieve was completely still for the entire program, which I think means that she was emotionally satisfied with her day and enthralled with the program.

The most fascinating part was listening and responding to her questions about why some people would be chopping down the trees that the butterflies used in their Mexican sanctuaries. Yes, it wasn't nice. Those people did it because they were poor and needed some way to make money, so they cut down the trees and sold the wood. They needed money to get by, maybe to buy food. Yes, maybe they had children. The man said they were dangerous because maybe they had guns, because they didn't want to get caught doing something illegal.

That was only about three or four minutes of the almost hour-long program, and most of the remainder was spent watching the wonder of their life-cycle and migration. I love books and storytime, but I do like the option of finding these little gems on this thing we call the internet.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Myth: Now that our children are old enough to bathe themselves, I have them bathe in order to get clean.

Myth debunked: Cleanliness is a fortunate side-effect. Children are sent to the bath for wholesome, confined entertainment while I clean the kitchen in relative peace. I can tell if they're doing okay--the incessant din of their screeches easily reaches the kitchen. Sometimes Reesa will come wandering down the hall, wet and without towel, and will say through chattering teeth, "I'm sh-iv-ery." She does not yet appreciate my explanation about the cooling effect of the evaporative process on human skin.

News Flash -- The hydrangea fairies live out back. In the hydrangea shrubs. The Lizzy fairy lives in the fairy house off the front stoop. They know each other, and they are good friends but are not related. Of course, none of them are in either place right now, since it is winter and too cold outside. This is very important, so I thought I'd let you all know.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Identical fairies

“Fairies are real. Scientists are still trying to figure this out, but I know.”

Genevieve says that on the top of the roof of our house live ‘identical’ fairies. ‘Identical’ fairies help other fairies; they are fairy doctors and fairy angels.

“Are fairies for real, dad?”

“Well, how would we figure that out?”

“Ask the computer.”

So we look on the computer, and lo and behold, there are pictures and paintings of fairies. When you see it on the computer, that is proof that they are real. The other night we saw a planet next to the moon, and looked it up on the computer and the computer knew that there was a planet next to the moon, and had a picture of exactly what it looked like, and knew it was Venus. So, the computer knows things that are real.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One hundred ninety-nine

Tonight, Genevieve is trying desperately to put herself to sleep. After announcing that five plus four is nine — it’s dark in the room beyond the computer screen, so I can’t see if she is using her fingers to determine this — she moved on to raw counting. She just counted her way to one hundred ninety-nine, and no, one billion is not the next number. After a brief discussion about how it was appropriate that two hundred would be the next number, she said, “Oh, and then is it three hundred?”

“Yes, after you count all of the two hundreds.”

“Wow, that’s gonna take a long time.”

Mmm-hmm, that’s the point, honey.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

List of names

This past Friday, I found a list of the names of Genevieve's classmates in her pre-school mail slot. I stared at it, thought "hmm, that's nice" and put it in my bag.

Another child's mom followed behind, and the gender difference is that she immediately understood the intent and significance of finding this list in our mail slot.

"Ooo, good, the class list! Just in time for Valentine's Day."

I suspect that in general, Valentine's Day is more popular with girls than boys, and that it was no mistake that that the mom got jiggy to the meaning of the list before I did. I don't know if She-Who-Does-The-Shopping will get a pack of the tear-off cards, or if she has plans for a card-making project. Since there are about 15 other kids in her class, that's a bunch of work.