Saturday, June 27, 2009

The sincerest form

Reesa came running to present me with this drawing, two people parachuting under the sun and a rainbow. What she was most proud of was that one parachute was further away (the smaller parachute, bottom right).

A few moments later, Genevieve showed me her drawing (below), and seemed to complain that her sister had been copying her. I explained briefly that this was because her sister looked up to the work she did, and that her drawing was well done and that it was a compliment to be copied in that way.
I don't know that Genevieve sees it that way. Reflexively, she wants to feel cheated that her sister is imitating her. We try to suggest that she provides an older example for her sister. The trick then is to watch out for the hint of bragging or belittling that can come. It's familiar to me. As the eldest child, I remember dealing with similar feelings when my little sister tried to copy me.

Kite fairy

Genevieve did this pencil drawing recently of two parents and a child flying two kites in a partly sunny sky with a kite fairy. I don't know what kite fairies do, but it was a clearly important attribute to her.

In other news, Reesa denied four times with four separate people that were over at our house today the fact that she had experience a pee-pee accident. The wet-looking dark stained crotch was the suspicious factor.

"Hey Reesa," I shouted over from the lawn to the lower patio. "Did you have a pee-pee accident?"

"Nooo!" she replied without a break in her play. "It wasn't a pee-pee accident! I just had a little extra pee-pee that came out."

She certainly doesn't like the label "pee-pee accident."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is that a threat or a promise?

Sign at a local coffee shop.

I think it's part threat and part promise. I've never heard any yelping puppies in all my times there. I have seen an espresso or two, though...

If I had my children here, I wouldn't leave them unattended. The espresso alone would be adequate and proportionate. The puppy, however, would be a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Mostly, the coffee shop is the refuge of the solo dad. Especially this coffee shop.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sign of summer no. 1

Amazing how different people are, and how early and noticeable are the dissimilarities between siblings. Take eating ice cream from a cone for example. When Genevieve was learning it, she was a little messy, but wanted to eat neatly like adults, and listened and followed advice.

For Reesa, it's like I said, "She is three years old, and not about to miss out on a moment of doing three year-old things." She was fascinated by the cone. Wanted to wait for the ice cream to melt to the cone, and then lick it from there. She sort of listened to advice -- there was no ice cream in the hair or on the floor -- but she clearly wanted to explore her own fascination with the intersection of cone and frozen dairy item.

All in all, she is a child that doesn't mind wearing her food on her face, and usually has to be reminded or cajoled to clean up.

Speaking of ice cream, that was the second time last weekend that we had some. The previous night we had a family outing and canoed over to the bait shop for some of our favorite frozen treat. The canoeing portion took two hours, round trip, so I think that the adults worked off the calories and some extra.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Way better than a necktie

My children were prompted by She-Who-Loves-Me a week ago to think about what they wanted to give as a gift for Father's Day. Reesa quickly settled on getting me a rainbow toothbrush, and also two juggling balls and an adult book (meaning a book not for children). I only started hearing about it this morning at the breakfast table.

"Does someone need a new toothbrush?" she announced. "Is it momma? Noooo, not momma. Is it Genevieve? Nooooo, not Genevieve. I think it's a surpri-i-i-ise."

There were a couple of other mentions of the plans for obtaining the toothbrush, which I had to deny hearing, and then after our all-day strawberry picking outing (I am sooo tired tonight) Reesa and my wife went out and upon their return I was presented with my shiny new toothbrush. She then asked me where I kept the juggling balls, took those, got a book off the shelf and presented me with those, also.

Afterwards, my wife told me that Reesa had been talking about getting me a toothbrush all week long. (No, not because I didn't have one -- the one I had was just boring, okay?) I am going to think about her every time I brush my teeth with that toothbrush. I may have a hard time giving it up.

Friday, June 19, 2009

And in her spare time...

I haven't written about Reesa much lately for two reasons. First, I spend more time with Genevieve since I do the pick-up drop-off routine twice a week with her. Second, Reesa spends much of her time screaming. Leaves me with a lot less warm-fuzzy material to work with. She is three years old, and not about to miss out on a moment of doing three year-old things.

But I did get a conversation with her today.

Her: I want to be a ballerina when I grow up.

I: That's a good thing to want to be. The dancing is graceful and pretty, and it's fun to dance. You do have to practice a lot, but for some people practice is just like play time and it's fun, too.

Her: That's not all. When I grow up I want to be a fairy, and a mermaid, and a princess, and a ballerina, and a cheerleader.

I: Wow. That's a lot. And a cheerleader?

Her: Yeah. I want to stand on one leg, that's the kind of cheerleader I want to be.

I: Hmm, I think you wouldn't have to do that all of the time.

Where does one get the idea of being a stand-on-one-leg cheerleader? As opposed to the pom-pom waving one, or the cartwheeling one, or the megaphone shouting one? Ooo, she'd be good at that last one. Wouldn't even need the megaphone.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

U.S. Grant

Today at the convenience store, I caught a quick glimpse of a corner of a fifty dollar bill in my wallet as I was paying for some two-cycle engine oil. Since I typically don't have much more than $40 total in my possession at any one time, this was a happy and perplexing discovery.

When did I get that? Was it a mistake? Did I have it from some recent weekend away, not yet returned to the family money stash? Leaving the store, I pulled out the wallet to look at it again.

Oh yeah. Then I remembered. It's fake. Fairly good quality copy, but smaller than an actual bill. It might be just barely at the 75% legal limit for print reproductions, but it was printed on both sides (not permitted by law). When Genevieve found it on the ground, I explained to her that it was not real money. When asked more about that, I tried to explain about counterfeit money, but in order to do that you have to explain about how currency has any value at all anyway, and even a bright five year-old quickly loses interest. That is to say, she lost interest in the way I was trying to explain it.

"The government prints the money, and then we get it, but if anyone could print it, then why would we work, or uh... well, that would be like cheating and, um, anyway you're not supposed to do that." I said something like that, but probably not so elegantly.

How would you try to explain currency and counterfeiting to a kid?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Can we renegotiate this union rule?

Hmm, there were little sweet moments this weekend, but wow, summertime can sometimes be a lot of work when you don't have your parenting groove on. Late nights equal tired children, because it is simply not possible for a young child to sleep in on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It must be a union thing or something -- you know, the International Order of Toddlers, Kids, and Teens (teenagers graduate to a different union, I think). Tomorrow morning, odds are that we will need pry bar or really good bribe to leverage them out of bed.

Today after a late lunch I sent the kiddos off for a nap. Genevieve the elder melted down at this turn of events, exhausted herself within three minutes and conked out. Reesa went more willingly, also fell quickly asleep. Then I pulled out the secret weapon -- the fiddle tunes practice CD on perpetual loop. Popped that baby in, folded some laundry, and then hit the backyard. Genevieve slept for an hour and half and Reesa doubled that.

Since Genevieve was up earlier, she went and played with her neighbor friend. By the time Reesa awoke, the neighbor was home and getting ready to go out with her family. And oh, that wasn't FAIR! How come my sister got to go and play, I wanted to play, why didn't you wake me up (ha-haha!), bwaaaaaaaah!

Is this what I get for letting them stay up hugely late last night? Tonight it's 9:45 and despite getting them into bed over an hour ago, they are still awake. This is NOT glamorous.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wishing well

On the bus yesterday, my elder daughter and I had this conversation.

She: I want to go to Africa.

Me: That's a very interesting thing to want. There would be so many things to see and do, and it's so big, an entire continent. That's a good wish to have -- you can add it to your wish list.

She: Oh, no, I can't have more wishes.

Sure you can. Why do you think you can't have more wishes?

You can only have three.

Why is that?

That's how many wishes you can make at the wishing well at the library.

Me: Oh, I see... Can't you just have other wishes that aren't in the wishing well.


Hmmm. If you had another wishing well, could you make more wishes there?

Well, umm, no,...uh, well, I guess so. I think you can.

So if we had a different wishing well, you could add more wishes? Can you make wishes into a fish tank?


How about if we had another little fish jar at home, like we have Dorothy in? Could you make wishes there?

Then there'd be another fish in there. We don't want to do that.

Me: No, no. There doesn't have to be a fish in it -- they come separately, you know. The bowl Dorothy is in, we had that at home already, and I brought Dorothy home and added her into it.

She: But I'd need another penny. I can't wish without a penny.

Oh. [pause] What if you had another penny, could you add more wishes?


And if you had more pennies? make more wishes?


Maybe that's the way to go.

By then, I'd forgotten that this had begun with a wish to go to Africa.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's elementary, my dear Watson

Here's the answer to the puzzle posted in the June 3rd entry:

The photo was inverted left/right. The actual photo is above. I included the photo of the house to make it fair for readers that haven't seen our house. The top left of this photo shows the correct orientation of the front door and living room bump out.

Yes, Genevieve wrote her note to us with inverted letters, from right to left. She is entirely capable of writing the regular letters and from left to right. Don't know why she wrote this the way she did, but she really nailed it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The f word again

The same night that Reesa and I were telling a ghost story while at Quaker camp, Genevieve and She-Who-Loves-Songs were out at the sing-a-long, and up came this one from local favorites Lou and Peter Berryman:

There are pirates in their fetid galleons
Daggers in their skivvies

With infected tattooed fingers

On a blunderbuss or two

Signs of scurvy in their eyes

And only mermaids on their minds

It's from them I would expect to hear The F-word, not from you

We sit down to have a chat

It's F-word this and F-word that

I can't control how you young people

Talk to one another

But I don't wanna hear you use

That F-word with your mother...
Of course, Genevieve asked what they meant by "f-word." Shocking, really--haven't we been through this before? Her mother had to remind her: "That's just a song about a mother who is tired of hearing her child say 'this isn't fair' and 'that's not fair' so she sings a song about it."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Our really big blackboard

We have quite a bit of driveway, as shown in the above picture of our house. Our children make good use of this blackboard and a bucket of sidewalk chalk. Every rainfall, viola, fresh chalkboard.

Below is a love note scrawled on our driveway from Genevieve: I LOVE YOU MOM & DAD. I found it one day about a month ago.

But there something not copasetic, not kosher, not... quite right about this second photo. Any guesses? (Answer in future post)