Friday, September 28, 2007

Wardrobe Malfunctions

For anyone seeing those Wednesday pictures, one might think those weren't all taken on the same day since there was a wide variety of outfits. would be wrong. The first outfits were morning playclothes. Then Lucy had to wear different clothes to school in the afternoon. She was, for some reason, supposed to dress in cowgirl costume again, but I had exhausted all our options with the bandana the day before. So she wore a jean skirt and flowered shirt, which looked country to me, but Darren said was decidedly more Groovy Girl. Then she didn't want to wear the bandana around her neck but rather around her hair like Cinderella (giving her an actual odd combination between hip-hop and Aunt Jemima before she got her new PC hairdo). Then Elaine had to change her dress because she spilled milk on it, and everyone knows spilled milk is possibly one of the worst smells in the world.

That's usually how our days go. The day before, Lucy forgot to go to the bathroom before she went to the park with my mom and ended up having to go behind a tree. Another wardrobe change, including wet shoes.

These changes extend to me as well. They're well past the formula/nursing stage, yet I still regularly sport dried food, tears, and other bodily fluids on my clothes. The other day at the park, I suddenly realized that, though it was only 9 a.m., I already had dried blood all over the shoulder of my new white t-shirt.

In other news, Darren, in one of his several calls to me at work this morning, said that he was trying to come up with a way to keep Elaine from eating during the 10 seconds or so it takes to say a blessing for the food. (She likes to hold one of your hands and eat with the other.) This morning he decided to outwit her and hold both her hands. He said, "The problem was that I had a little bit of banana smushed on my hand. So while I was praying, she leaned down and licked my thumb."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Perfect Fall Day: A Pictorial

Welcoming Mr. FiberOptic Pumpkin.....

A funeral and sand burial for a dearly-departed, just-met ladybug....

One of the mourners....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"...and you can be my cowgirl"

When I was little, my mom signed me up for ballet lessons. It was in order to strengthen my left leg, plus I was interested in ballet and not interested in sports. I remember going to the ballet supply store on the ground floor of a ballet studio...seeing would-be ballerinas running around in their leotards and tights. My mom bought me the shoes (which I still have). The first day of lessons, she showed me my leotard. It was a hand-me-down from someone, and I think it was for gymnastics. It was two-tone green--lime and forest--and had a zipper. Also, there were no tights. But I knew better than to say anything because the money was there for the appropriate shoes and the lessons, and that was it. A perfectly serviceable leotard was there for me to wear, too.

So, I did, every week. No one ever said anything to me either, even though I was the only one not in a black leotard (with no zipper) and pink tights. But you know what? It was completely fine. Sure, I felt a little out of place and self-concious. But there was no permanent damage.

Today at Lucy's school, it was cowboy/cowgirl day. Now, I've lived in northern Illinois my whole life. And I only rarely listen to country music. So, the whole western look is kind of baffling to me. There's really not a lot of call for cowboy boots (are they called "ropers"?) and hats. So, here was my solution to dress-up day. Lucy wore her jeans and a white shirt. I bought a red bandana and tied it around her neck. She wore white gym shoes. She was so thrilled with herself. She kept running and looking in the mirror and saying, "I look like a real cowgirl, don't I, Mom? What's a cowgirl? Why do they wear these bandanas?"

Then when I got her to school....oh my. These kids were fully kitted out. Boots and hats and chaps and leather dusters and name it. Immediately I was transported back to the ballet studio, circa 1978. And there was my Lucy, waiting expectantly in her carseat, wearing a $.94 bandana from Wal-Mart.

It's walking a fine line, being a mom. I have to nurture that little coccoon and keep it warm and dry and safe from bad weather and predators. But I can't smother it, and I can't force it to come out, and I can't decide exactly what the butterfly will look like when it appears.

I think it'll be just fine. No permanent damage. Maybe even no damage at all--she didn't seem to realize there was any difference between her and anyone else.

But I still feel just a little bit self-conscious.

Monday, September 24, 2007

"That is such a scam! She just wants to go surfing!"

Remember that so-bad-it-was-good movie with Mark Harmon and Kirstie Alley (before she went all cuckoo) called "Summer School"? It was about a bunch of slacker high school students and their even moreso slacker teacher (Mark Harmon) in summer school? Oh, you don't? Well, that's it. That's the basic plot. But anyway, there's one student (Courtney Thorne-Smith before she got famous) who says she has to leave class because she's sick, but she really just wants to go outside. (This is quality writing, people, nothing but the classics watched here!)

Well, that's Elaine today. I think it's the last day of summer (despite the fact that it's late September). It's supposed to be in the 90s, and it's sunny. Now, she does have a fever that's fluctuating between 100 and 102 and she does have some light hives, but I think they've all been spectacularly produced in order to stay home from daycare today.

She woke up at 5:45, which of course is far too early, so I brought her in bed with us. She laid back on my pillow and flipped through the book on my bedside table. She petted Darren's face and whispered, "Daddy." She giggled while he snored. She wiggled a lot. Then she leaned close so her nose was touching mine and whispered loudly, "Blocks!" Oh-kay. Guess it was time to get up.

So far this morning she has played with blocks, played with her dollhouse, played out in the backyard, eaten a large breakfast and part of mine, got up in the wing chair in the living room and said, "Moo-ee. Peas." So I put in a Strawberry Shortcake (or "Buh-buh cake" as she calls her) movie for her. Then she indicated that she would like the footrest up on the chair, regardless of the fact that her feet don't even reach to the edge, let alone the footrest. Then she decided she wanted to take a walk. She came upstairs and riffled through the books on Lucy's shelf. Now she's gotten out the Strawberry Shortcake dolls and is playing with them while singing along to the soundtrack to Piglet's Big Movie. Pretty soon I can see her snapping her fingers a la Snoopy and asking me for a pepperoni pizza and a root beer.

All this by 11:15. Isn't she about ready to take a nap yet? I am.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hey, I still live here too!

Don't think Elaine has just gotten pushed to the side lately (and if you knew her? You'd realize that that is virtually impossible). It's just that school has opened up a lot of venues of conversation and is a source of new quotes. Rest assured that ol' Tootlebug, as she is also known, is still going strong.

Yesterday she was going down the basement stairs, and I said, "Scoot over so you're near the wall, not near the railing."

She looked at me and said, "No."

I said, "Excuse me? I'm sorry, I didn't quite hear that--what did you just say to me?"

Then she put her hands on her hips and said, somewhat garbled, but in an exact imitation, "You don't say 'No' to Mommy!"

Then she scooted over.

Yeah, she's a lot like me...

[In the car, on the way to school]

"Mom, do you know what Gabby said to me?"


"She said, 'Why didn't you say hi to my big sister?' Wasn't that rude? It hurt my feelings."

"You should just tell her, 'I don't know your sister. Why don't you introduce me?'"

"She's not very nice to me. She doesn't really play with me. I like Paige better."

"Well, honey, let's just do what Jesus would want us to do. Just let it roll off you. Forgive her; it's no big deal. Start fresh again today and try to be friends with her."


"Actually, Mom? I just want to complain about it some more."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Maybe she has a sister named Chakra...

Today was "B" day at school, and everyone had to bring something in their backpack that begins with the letter B. In a Burst of Brilliance, I let Lucy bring the little metal bell from the kitchen windowsill that is shaped like a bird.

When she came home I asked her how it went and she said, "Mrs. Hogan put my bird with all the other things that begin with B. Paige brought a B...B...B...Barbie doll. Gabby brought her A.J. brought a B....B....B...banana. Brendan brought a B...B...B...ball. Michael brought a box of B...B...B... blocks. And Rachel came with her daddy because he was the mystery guest today an' you know what they brought?"


"A real live B...B...B...bunny. We all got to pet it. You know what the bunny's name is?"

"No, what's her name?"

"Crystal Harmony."

Monday Wrap-up

"How was your day today, Lucy; did you have fun?"

"Yes, Mrs. Pope (babysitter) and I colored and read and we went and took care of Miss Ruth's cat. I stepped on her paw and she went "Rowr!" but Mrs. Pope said that's OK, it was an accident. And Mrs. Pope and I went to Wal-Mart."

"You and Mrs. Pope are good friends, aren't you?"

"Yes, I made her my best friend. She's just so sweet, isn't she, Mom? Mom, I'm going to marry Michael."

"Who's Michael?"

"He's a boy at my school. He's nice, so I'm going to get married to him. Mom, Mrs. Pope believes in the untrue god. I'm just teasing, she believes in the one true God!"

"I know, she does."

"I got 'Cat in the Hat' as my library book today. I don't have 'Cat in the Hat' at home, only at Manga's house. Will you read it to me? Mrs. Pope read to me; she read 'The Snow Party' and 'Make Way for Ducklings.' I saw where you taped the pages that were falling out. I ate that lunch you gave me too, thank you, Mom! I liked it and also the stickers you put in there. I gave one to Mrs. Pope."

"That's nice. What did you say at Buzzy Time today?"

"I forgot. Oh, actually I said that Mrs. Pope and I colored together."

"Mom, do you know who doesn't believe in the one true God? Nero. [The Roman emperor in A.D. 54 in case you were wondering.] He doesn't believe in God, he said that HE is God. Mom, that's not 'cceptable to me and it makes me tired. I don't like that Nero. You know who does believe in the true God? Michael. That's why I'm going to marry him."

Friday, September 14, 2007

A snapshot

Whew. Summer flew by in some ways, and in other ways it was almost endless. Apparently a common metaphysical dichotomy of living with little people.

Lucy is in pre-school now. All summer long her anxiety heightened. She told me, "Mom, I don't want to go to school. I just want to stay home with you and Elaine." One morning when she woke up, she brushed the hair out of her face and said immediately, "Is today the day I go to that new school?" Me: "No." Lucy: "Oh good. Because I'm a little nervous about that new school."

But of course when the time came, she was all ready with her big kid backpack, and she totally loves it. She can't wait to go see Mrs. Hogan and Mrs. Gottfred and all her little friends. Every day when they sit in a circle, they pass around a stuffed bee, and whoever is holding the bee gets to talk. This is called "Buzzy Time." (My friend Ann and I have instituted Buzzy Time now for ourselves, via email.) The whole pre-school room is decorated in a garden theme. She came home the other day after having made applesauce, wearing a paper Johnny Appleseed hat. It's all a great success.

And let's not leave old Smoochie out. She's begun being 2 several months before she actually will be. People need only to see a picture of her to say, "That one's got someplace to go, doesn't she?" Last night after devotions and story time, I told Lucy to get in bed. Then I said to Elaine, "It's night-night time." She said, "Nope" and headed downstairs (she doesn't say "yes" and "no." She says, "yup" and "nope." It's defiance--in slang form!) I found her in the kitchen, pushing a chair around, and pointing out the patio window at Daddy.

My girls are both always on the move. My goal for this blog was to write thoughtful entries, a la Catherine Newman. But it all slips by me too fast, I forget to write in the blog, then the guilt sets in (really? I need more guilt in my life, especially over something I've imposed on myself?) So, now I'm going to try and write twice a month. It may be long, it may be short--however, the spirit moves. The ultimate goal is not to flex my dubious writing skills but to have an enjoyable record to read over at a later time.

That being said: fall's here, the girls are more energetic than ever, and I'm still writing, albeit intermittently and abbreviated.

Personalitites in a Nutshell

Last night the girls were taking their bath, and I gave Lucy her toothbrush and toothpaste and told her I wanted her to brush her teeth really well. Then the phone rang (it was Darren) and I asked them both to be really quiet. Of course they were completely loud and wild, and I had to abruptly hang up. Then when I was getting them out, I found the toothbrush just floating idly in the water. I asked Lucy if she brushed her teeth at all and she said, "No, Mama, I'm sorry." So, I was sort of mad and was like, "OK, I asked you to brush your teeth and you didn't. I asked you to be quiet while I was on the phone with Daddy, and instead you were really noisy. I'm really disappointed in you! Now just go in your room and put your clean underwear and pajamas on right now."

I went and got Elaine ready for bed and came into Lucy's room and she threw her arms around me and said (kind of teary), "Mama, I'm SO sorry I did all those bad things. Will you please have mercy on me?"

Then this morning when I was leaving for work (at 5:30 a.m.), I walked past Elaine's room. She was lying in her crib, singing a little song. Here's how it went, "Mommy, mommy, moooommmeee. No way no way no way."