Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Judge Elisabeth

..not quite as thrilling as "Judge Judy," but entertaining none the less.

Yesterday, I took Elisabeth to work with me. She was really cute and well behaved. Not the shy kind, she marched right into a few judges' offices and stuck her hand right out to be shook. She told them all about her Christmas, wished them Merry Christmas (even the Jewish one), and told them about her future plans to be a fire fighter and an ambulance driver. (as an aside on that one, she also said to me yesterday "Mommy - when are you going to take me back to the park by preschool? They have a big pole there so that I can practice my fireman's slide. You know I need to practice or I'm not going to be a very good fireman..."

We did all sorts of stuff at work yesterday, including actual work. I had a theory that I could teach a 3 yr old to do some of the stuff I do and I proved that theory to be correct. She can successfully update the computer system with file locations, stick green dots in the correct place, and push all around the courthouse delivering files to their proper location (did I really get a JD for this????)

The courthouse was empty yesterday, only a few hearings went on and that was only in the morning. So, since our courtroom was empty I took Elisabeth in and let her sit where the judge sits. I explained where the jury sits, where the defendant comes in and sits, where I sit... she was thrilled. I asked her if she wanted to pretend to be the judge and of couse she did. So she sat down in the chair and very judiciuosly said "Good morning everyone. Today is..." and at that point she looked down and looked into her pants. I was utterly confused as she stared at it for a few seconds and then proclaimed, "Today is Tuesday." She was wearing day of the week underwear. I didn't tell her that the judges wear robes. She'd never be able to figure out the day then!

She sentened someone to three days in prison and then wanted to go back to my office I have stickers and a big bag of pita chips that I let her it at will. We stayed at work until just after 2pm, and while I was champing at the bit to leave - Elisabeth wanted to stay. I might just send her next week, I'm pretty sure she could hold down the fort.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The littlest dictator

[Attention Becky, and anyone else reading this who is pregnant with, thinking about becoming pregnant with, or really even just related to anyone who is considering two children: read at your own risk. And when I tell you later, "oh 2 is fine, you'll do great, the second one is easier, etc., etc." - do not throw this back in my face...]

Oh Charlotte, my Charlotte. What am I going to do with you? How do I convince you not to bite? Not to hit? Not to run after your sister hollering your scream of death (henceforth known as Charlotte's battle cry) because she looked at you while you were holding a toy?

I know that as parents we're more relaxed with number two. I can see it in the way we treat Charlotte versus how we were with Elisabeth. While we still are big proponents of "the schedule" - Charlotte has skipped more naps in her little life than Elisabeth did in her entire life. You want M&Ms? It will keep you from screaming? Here's a handful. Oh you don't want to eat in your high chair? Standing straight up in the adult sized chair that Elisabeth was just sitting in and spreading food all over the table and throughout every strand of your hair will keep you from screaming and get you to eat? Fine, here's the chair. But, I worry that we're going to turn into those parents, or rather that Charlotte is that child.

Tonight, I wondered what in the world possessed us to have two children and then - once I was already suckered into the second - why I didn't insist that the OB tie, no tie and solder my tubes together then fill them with concrete for good measure. Tonight was, needless to say, not a good night in this house. The entire day, really, was less than pleasant. Every word out of both of their mouths was either a complaint, demand, or said at a volume of 100 dB - or approximately the volume of a train going by. Elisabeth was just generally disagreeable - she cried loudly and for a long time over the fact that she cut up her crepes by herself and then couldn't pick up the whole crepe to eat it. She cried because we were going for a walk. She kicked and stomped when told she isn't old enough to stay home by herself and earned herself a big fat timeout.

Charlotte is apparently over tired. She didn't nap well and then punished the rest of us by biting us, hitting us with various toys, straightening her little body and screaming bloody murder if you told her she couldn't do [insert forbidden activity here], throwing food at us, or doing the gutteral yell that I'm now calling her "battle cry" for no particular reason.

In all seriousness, I'm not quite sure what we'll do with Ms. Charlotte. I suspect we're on the cusp of full blown toddlerness, yet she's too young still for timeouts and 1-2-3 Magic. Distraction isn't the greatest tool with her because she is pretty strong willed, but even still how do you distract a kid when she's heading for you with the Russian stacking dolls (the source of the welt on my wrist)? We never dealt with violence with Elisabeth, so this is uncharted territory for us. I've heard, and read, about the bite them back logic - but I doubt that expands to hit them back with the Russian stacking doll.

And how do you keep them from flinging themselves off of the couch just for fun? Or force them to eat sitting nicely in their highchairs? I know I could just take her food away from her when she starts acting up - and perhaps that is the answer - but is it really so bad to let her eat standing up in a big girl chair? I know, I know - it is. But it is kind of cute, in our defense. And she doesn't get to go to restaurants so often. And I'm pretty sure she won't go off to college eating like that. But it is all a control game and we can't let her in on the secret that our lives really do revolve around the kids.

Oh, and Charlotte has learned "no." Not the word, but the head shake. The very big, hair flopping, oversized headshake. It is really cute, and silent - so kind of a bonus. And at least this way, I can ask her "do you want applesauce" and get an answer in the form of a headshake instead of in the form of a bowl of applesauce thrown at me. The kid's got an arm.

Wasn't the second one supposed to be easier????

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Puppy

We are .... insane (among many other things). In addition to two high energy children, two cats that seem to seek out ways to irritate me, and a dog who is mostly just wonderful, we are going to have a new puppy come sometime in late April. Another lab, probably black. Perhaps yellow. At the time we signed up for this, Charlotte was not quite as, uh, spirited (?) as she is now. She wasn't throwing noteworthy temper tantrums whenever Elisabeth so much as looked at a toy from across the room that Charlotte might, at some point in the future, think about playing with. She wasn't climbing up on top of absolutely everything. She wasn't running. She wasn't contemplating making the terrible twos the terrible 1.5s. But now she is doing all of these things, with expertise. So- we're crazy.

Elisabeth is excited. She has already named the new puppy. She chose to name her Elisabeth Virginia [insert our last name]. I guess that would make the puppy a "junior." She will go by "Ginny," as a nickname for Virginia. As Elisabeth said, "I like matching names. My name matches Aunt Elisabeth's and it works ok." She really wanted the dog to be called Elisabeth too - but I told her that would be too confusing. I said "What if I had to yell at the dog for doing something bad? Wouldn't you think I was yelling at you?" She replied, "No, mommy, I'd know it was the dog." And so I said "what if I holler 'Elisabeth!' - who would come? You or the dog?" and she said they'd both come - what is the problem with that? Admittedly she had an answer for every problem, but in the end she decided a nickname wasn't the world's worst idea. So luckily, we escaped having two Elisabeths in the same house. And now we'll just merely have chaos. And hopefully fewer toys, since the dog will inevitably eat at least a third of them.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008



We had a very nice Christmas here. Charlotte was unbearably cute hauling around all of her presents, doing the hand motions to Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, nodding to indicate yes (for the first time ever), and dancing to the music from the wide variety of toys she got that play songs. Elisabeth was over the moon because she got what she wished for: "a pogo stick and some stuff for Charlotte." I was so touched on Christmas morning when Elisabeth came downstairs. She immediately said "oh! I got a pogo stick! I am so happy!" which was immediately followed by an inquiry about which Santa stuff was for Charlotte. She has such a good heart.

Santa brought Elisabeth a GeoTrax train set, which has been a huge hit. Elisabeth enjoys playing with the train, and Charlotte enjoys sending the little people down the freight chute while saying "wheeeeeeeee." Oh - and taking the engine and shoving it into all of the places it doesn't belong, including but not limited to the elevator shaft.

We also got a game for Elisabeth that she can legitimately beat me at: I Spy Eagle Eye. The tide is turning. There are 8 different boards, each having a zillion things on them. Think "Where's Waldo" but with items not people. Each person picks a board for themselves. Then there is a deck of cards, each card has 8 items on it. Each person picks a card and you frantically search for one item on the card that is on your board. You get to ding a bell if you find it first - this is huge incentive for a 3 yr old. And Elisabeth can beat me at this game even when I'm trying to win... but I secretly enjoy playing this game.

For all of those interested, as expected Elisabeth can in no way make the pogo stick work. It seems too tall for her, even though it says it would work for her height. The bigger problem is that the spring is pretty tough and she is just too much of a featherweight to make it work. I think she's getting frustrated about it. I mentioned the possibility of some WD-40 on it to my dad and now she asks me approximately every 30 minutes when I'll put the "slippery stuff" on it.

Being off for three days in a row is heavenly. I'm sitting here watching terrible television (What Not to Wear - this girl is actually crying in the confessional because she can't find anything to buy with her $5000 gift card, oh the tragedy), I spent a large part of the afternoon working on a project I've been planning for months - the basement re-do, and I have the exact same schedule planned for tomorrow. Work is really cramping my style.
Here are two cute pictures from Christmas morning:


Charlotte playing with the GeoTrax train set.

The look of joy on Elisabeth's face when she saw that we now have our very. own. copy. of. Dumbo! priceless.

And with that, I'm back to TV. I have more stories for this week, but I'll put them in separate posts. Oh, this is a relief, crying girl from TV has discovered the color purple and it looks like everything is going to be ok. I wonder if CNN turns out happy like this.











Monday, December 22, 2008

res ipsa loquitur

This Latin phrase, commonly and perhaps only used in 1L Torts classes, means "the thing speaks for itself." That said, I hereby title this picture "res ipsa loquitur":

Sunday, December 21, 2008

MIA

I have been so busy this week - between a very heavy docket, everyone in Fairfax County wanting their divorce done now now now, interviewing MIT kids, and trying to get sort of ready for Christmas - that I haven't had time to write anything!

I'll start with the trip back home from Gram's house. We left early - like 6:30am - so that we could make the trip home before lunch. Despite the crazy weekend of fun, neither girl slept on the 6 hour trip. And the DVD crack seems to be wearing off because Elisabeth would rather be a part of the conversation. She and Doug made up stories for the last two hours of the drive - tall tales involving Elspeth, Lula-lu, Maura and Elisabeth. At one point in the story, it was decided that each character needed super powers. Elisabeth has been heavily into the super hero thing, thanks to some of her friends at school. Elisabeth's super hero power was the ability to rescue people. Mine was the ability to fly. Charlotte is still unable to claim her own super power, so Elisabeth assigned her one... the ability to throw people in jail without having them see the judge first. The secret police super power!

See, on the way up, she wanted to know about criminal procedure... why people had to see a judge after they got thrown in jail. We gave a cursory explanation on fairness and that in America we don't just let the police throw people in jail forever without someone else saying that's ok.

So when time came to dole out super powers, she decided this secret police power ought to belong to Charlotte. Which, anyone who knows Charlotte should know that Charlotte is not the one you ought to give secret police powers to. Fairness isn't her strength.

Also this week, it seems that the sixteen-month old babe has decided that communicating with us might be beneficial to her. She has started nodding her head to say yes. And, we've heard a few recognizable words such as blanket, geese, and Willy (the cat). So hopefully soon we'll get some repeatable words.

OK - the little one is biting me and complaining that there is a laptop on my lap and not a biting toddler. I don't know why that is. Hopefully the next edition won't be a week in coming.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The sign says...

In some ways, we're not looking forward to the day that Elisabeth can read with certainty. One time, Doug told Elisabeth that she couldn't wear slippers to preschool by telling her it was in the handbook. She demanded strict proof of this, and he pointed to a section of the handbook. She believed him.

Just today, she wanted to go into the chocolate store on the way to Doug's mom's house, but didn't want to wear her shoes. He told her there was a sign on the door that said she had to wear shoes. Again, strict proof was demanded. I'm sure he assumed there was a "no shirt, no shoes, no service" sign. Since there wasn't, the "no solicitation" sign had to suffice. She believed it said "must wear shoes."

But, I'm beginning to think she's on to our trick. We play a game on long drives. You have to find a sign that has the letter A on it. Then the letter B. Then C. We got stuck for awhile on J. Being nothing if not patient...she decreed that if she saw an L that was curvy like a J (like a calligraphed lowercase l), then she could call it a J. I said, "no, no, that's cheating. You can't do that." She replied, "yes, I can Mommy. The sign says that I can. I'll show you. It says you can call a curvy L a J."

How are we going to parent when she can read and spell? Code words, I suppose. If I want to ask Doug how he feels about the kids having a donut, I'll have to say something like: Doug, do you think the petunias need a sweet fertilizer?

In other news, I now know for sure why the jail "waiting room" smells like urine. As I walked in on Thursday morning, in the middle of a government, public building, a guy was urinating against the wall. Not a homeless looking person. Not even a person that looked like they had just gotten out of jail. A guy wearing perfectly respectable clothes, that you would certainly not expect to be urinating against a wall in an open room. People are nuts.

Monday, December 8, 2008

computer age

the scene: Doug and Elisabeth sitting at the raised bar in the kitchen. Each with a laptop. Doug is talking to me.

Elisabeth: Daddy, don't talk to me if you have something to say. You can just type it to me.

I think we've created a monster! Yesterday she pitched a fit that I made her go to the bathroom instead of check her email.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some similarities to her mama

As all mother's probably do, my mother once said that she hoped I had a child just like me one day. Shockingly, she wasn't saying that because I am so wonderful. Elisabeth is not just like me, but let's just say there are some similarities. She maintains that she can't read. If you show her a word over three letters, she almost always refuses to even attempt it. That is, of course, unless she is all by herself with no one to help her. Or if it is a show on TV that she wants to watch that I'm vehemently arguing isn't on. Or anything else that we don't want her to read. The funny thing is, she can read most of those things surprisingly well.

But if you ask her to read words out of a book at bedtime, she gets grouchy. "NO." "I can't read it. Yooooou read it." She either just really enjoys having things read to her, or she hates feeling like she's failing while people are watching - she wants to read perfectly (there's my girl!). But her new favorite game is Spelling Bee. She's the blue team, I'm the red team, and Doug is the moderator. We played this on the way to the airport last week, and again this morning. And while she would tell you she can't read these words, she's perfectly capable of accurately sounding out words like plane, plate, spoon, and other five letter words. Maybe I need to make reading into some kind of competition. Again, she might be just a little bit like her mother in that she seems to have a competitive streak. She actually engages in some pretty good smack talk during a rousing game of Spelling Bee. Hmm... maybe we'll make a "Reading Bee." With flashcards. She looooooooves flashcards. (as a flashcard side story - we have these animal flashcards that I've caught her doing with Charlotte. Poor Charlotte is still mastering saying the word "cat" and Elisabeth is trying to get "octopus" out of her. Of course Charlotte says "blgiesfrau" and Elisabeth hears "octopus" and then reports to the pediatrician that Charlotte can say "cat, clap, dog, Maggie, and octopus.")

She asked Santa for "books she can read all by herself without any help from Mommy and Daddy." And a "pongo" stick. Oh and some kind of camera that lets Mommy and Daddy watch her all of the time when we have to go very far away. I'm not sure where it is we're going, seeing as we've left her with a sitter exactly 3 times in her life (four if you count when Charlotte was born and my mom was here), but apparently Doug and I need some kind of super duper "shmooper" binoculars.

I'm wondering if this is related to the fact that she wants Doug to just drop her off at playdates and not go inside and stay. Next thing I know she'll be asking me to drop her off a block away from preschool so she can walk in with her friends.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thoughts on working next to a jail...

At least twice every day, I walk past or through the adult detention center. I park in a garage with a view directly into the cells. When I get to work after about 8:45, I typically have to pass through at least two groups of prisoners out doing chores - mopping, gardening, collecting trash. I never know whether to say "excuse me" when I have to scoot through them, or "thank you" when they hold the door open for me. I usually do, but get scowled at by the prison guard who is on their watch.

When I get to work and look into the cells (it is literally the only view I have as I walk down the steps or ride down the elevator), the prisoners are either on their beds reading books or working out in the gym that's just beyond the doors of their cells. As I trudge into work, often grumpy from traffic, I begin to wonder if their life is all that bad. Do you know the last time that I had the time to work out??? It was before I started this job, so in August sometime.

So the last time my judge threw a guy in jail for not paying his child support, I didn't feel terribly bad for him. Especially because he had told her that the reason he hadn't paid was because he was living in his car since he was jobless. I thought, hey buddy, you can have a bed, food, all the reading time you want AND a gym! It's almost like a pleasure cruise.

But then, when I'm on my way back to my car in the afternoon, I realize that maybe the prisoners don't have the best life. After about 4:30pm, they sit in their cells with their faces plastered against their windows... waving. Desperate for someone to wave back. The other day, when I got into my car and looked up (the jail is probably 10 stories tall), I saw at least 20 prisoners waving at me. I did not wave back. It felt too strange. It also feels strange not to wave to a crowd of waving orange jumpsuit wearing folks. So then I get annoyed at being put into that position of fretting about whether or not to wave back.

In talking to a co-worker who used to work in the prison, I learned that those 20 people know exactly what time I leave every day and exactly which car I drive. Creepy. (For what its worth, she implored me not to wave back at them...) I also learned that a good number of the people that I pass every day, in and out of the courthouse and jail, are members of MS-13, which is a gang that is always in the news for doing very bad things. Kind of strange to literally rub elbows in the elevator with gang members.

Oh, and apparently the women had to be kept far away from the actual courthouse. They can't do their chores out in the main hallway. It turns out some of the "ladies" were playing Mardi Gras and flashing attorneys and parties heading into the courthouse. Classy.

Perhaps my favorite part about the jail is seeing the people getting released on Friday mornings, obviously having been picked up for something alcohol related the night before. Wearing "going out" clothes, with their belt and other personal items in a little plastic baggie that they're carrying. Usually a girlfriend is picking them up, but one time it was this guy's mother. The moral of that story is that if you ever get thrown in jail, your mother is not the person you want coming to pick you up. Hire an attorney for that.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mommy, what can Jesus do?

This is the question I was asked at dinner tonight. I replied, "what do you mean, what can Jesus do?" here's how the conversation went down:

E: I mean what can he DO?
Me: well... he can walk on water.
E: what else?
Doug: he can turn bread into fish.
Me: um, not really.
Doug: Mommy can tell you.
Me: he can turn one loaf of bread into thousands of loaves of bread, and one fish into thousands of fish.
E: no he can't. BUT - he can flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

Apparently they've been playing a lot of "Superhero" at preschool. It is the favorite game amongst her friends in her class. They each get superpowers, and apparently Jesus' superpower is that he can fly. So that He can watch over everyone.

And now, I am off to watch my tivo'd Top Chef while eating cheesy poofs. Tom Colicchio would be so proud.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Plane travel.

First of all, as the years go by I get more and more fretful before each plane trip. We just got home from Florida today, and I'm relieved that I won't have to get on a plane again until sometime in the spring.

Two children do not make the trip easier.

Elisabeth's ears start hurting before we even get on the plane. Just thinking of airplanes seems to cause her to start complaining about her ears. And she's stubborn. She is convinced that nothing... NOTHING will help them pop. Not swallowing. Not yawning. Not pinching her nose and blowing out. Not eating a bag of M&Ms (I was getting desperate). Strangely, just wearing her headphones without them being plugged into anything helps the most. Probably because it somehow muffles my pleas to yawn, swallow, pinch nose and blow. I guess maybe she dislikes flying with me as much as I dislike flying with her...

Truthfully, Elisabeth is a delight to travel with. She plays with her Leapster or watches a dvd during the entire part of the flight that takes place above 10,000 feet. She makes no noise and rarely bothers her parents. Her sister, on the other hand, is a menace. She is unhappy being held in any situation, but especially so on planes. I think that turning 2 and getting her own plane seat will make travel much more enjoyable... and expensive. Not the least of the enjoyment is that I will figure out a way that I get Elisabeth and Doug gets the little pipsqueak and they sit like 6-10 rows ahead of us.

Our flight today was not without excitement. As we were landing, I asked Elisabeth if she wanted to sit in my lap (seatbelt sign, be damned!) We were descending - probably about 2,000 feet up. I was pointing out landmarks to Elisabeth - Costco, the mall, Route 7, the Dulles Toll Road, the school where I used to teach, on and on. All of the sudden, the plane started going back up. This is something that I don't really like.

Maybe 13 years ago, I was landing in Tampa. The plane touched down and immediately took off again. I nearly passed out with panic. Turns out there was another plane at the end of the runway and we couldn't possibly stop in time. Whew, crisis averted. So, today, when the plane started going back up, I tried not to panic. At least we hadn't touched the runway yet, right? Doug tried to convince me that it was because we were so early that we had to circle until they had a spot for us to land. I bought that for awhile until I thought, well --- then why did they let us get so close the last time?? What, the air traffic controllers all of the sudden said "nope - sorry, we were just kidding. USAirways flight 772 really got here faster than we expected and now you have to start circling?" So I was a little nervous.

Then they turned on the big jets. You know, the ones that make all of the loud noise on takeoff. I'm not a pilot, but they don't usually turn those on and leave them on. It was loud. For a long time. We circled once and went for another attempt at landing. No word from the cockpit on why we're circling.

As we're close to touchdown, with the runway beneath us, I see a few firetrucks with their lights on on the runway. As we pass they start speeding towards us. Then more firetrucks. And ambulances. Definite panic in my mind at this point. And then we stop and pull off of the main runway onto one of those diagonal roads that go between runways. All of the emergency vehicles circle the plane.

The flight attendant comes on and says, "Welcome to Washington's Dulles International Airport. The temperature is 49 degrees. We'll be taxiing to the gate for the next few minutes. You'll see some emergency equipment surrounding the plane. Please don't be alarmed, this is standard procedure." About fifteen people around us muttered "standard procedure for what??"

Then the pilot came on and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking. Sorry for the delay. As we approached, we had trouble getting the landing gear down. But everything is ok now. The fire equipment is just a precaution. Sorry for not letting you know earlier, we were pretty busy up in the cockpit trying to get it figured out. Oh and we lost our steering capabilities too, so we have to wait for a tow truck to come and tow us to the gate."

Let's just say that it is a good thing they were "too busy" up in the cockpit to let me know that the landing gear wouldn't come down. They would have needed one of those ambulances to haul me off of the plane. I would not have handled that well. We're talking worse than 'Elisabeth picks up a dead mouse' reaction.

I was secretly hoping (after I knew everyone was safe) that we'd get to go down the emergency slide. It seems like it might be kind of a fun adventure. So then we had to wait for 30 mins on the tarmac with two hungry, tired, and agitated girls. Make that three. But we're home now. And hopefully later this week, I will tell you all about our fun visit with Grandmommy and Grandaddy, Aunt Elisabeth, Annaleis and Jacob. And of course the goats, donkeys, dogs, pool, and trampoline.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Parenting Strategies that Eventually Come Back to Haunt You

One of our neighbor's kids fell off of the couch about 18 months ago and broke her arm. She is about 6 months older than Elisabeth. We capitalized on this and used it as a way to keep Elisabeth from being crazy on the sofa. It worked, for the most part, and even today she'll explain to you exactly why she's not allowed to act crazy on the sofa.

Just like Pavlov's dog, this positive reinforcement led us to use this technique again. Elisabeth has a bad habit of standing up in the bay window and banging into it with her entire body. It just looks dangerous, I have no idea if the window would actually break or not. But we told her that one time, Sarah (the little girl who broke her arm's sister) was doing something exactly like that in her bay window and the window broke and she fell in the bush! For added effect, we told her that in the bush was a big, huge snake.

We haven't employed this technique in other situations because, well, the snake story didn't resonate with her. She still bangs into the window, driving me nuts.

But, yesterday, Anna (the little girl who started this whole thing by breaking her arm) was over here playing with Elisabeth. I guess we've hit the point where we can't expect the things we say to remain private because she asked Anna about the story in great detail. Anna, of course, knew nothing. I would love to know whether Anna related the story to her parents over dinner...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend kid funnies

The new pre-bedtime game is re-enacting fairy tales. Last night, we had to re-enact Little Red Riding Hood. Doug was the Big Bad Wolf, I was the grandmother and Elisabeth was Little Red Riding Hood. When we got to the part where the Big Bad Wolf eats the grandmother, Doug made some chomping motions. And boy did he ever get in trouble for that. "DADDY! You're doing it wrong! Daddy!!!!! That's not right!!!" Doug, a bit perplexed, said "but the wolf eats the grandmother!" And Elisabeth said, "he eats her but he doesn't chew her - he swallows her whole! You were chewing!"

And, for the fairy tale illiterate amongst you, she's right. That way, the huntsman can hack the wolf all to pieces and get the grandmother out whole.

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After Little Red Riding Hood, we played Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Elisabeth finally found the bed that was "just right." It was the step down from our tub, and she laid there peacefully. Charlotte's new favorite game is do anything at all that Elisabeth does, so Charlotte climbed up and laid down up there too.

While not the funniest story, it was easily the cutest thing we've seen Charlotte do in the "I want to be like Elisabeth" genre.

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Charlotte might not survive the next few months. Aside from throwing food and driving me insane, she is turning into kamikazi baby. She climbs up onto the couch, stands up, and quite literally flings herself headfirst onto the cushions. I have been there a few times to catch her when she "misjudges" the depth of the couch.

She also enjoys climbing up on chairs, and by climbing up I mean stand up on the chair and then shinny up the back of the chair so that she's teetering precariously at the very top of the chair, which is now very off balance.

And heaven help the fool who tries to take her down. First, she's freakishly strong and has learned to wrap all of her limbs around whatever it is she doesn't want to be removed from. Second, she bites. Third, she can pitch one heck of a temper tantrum. In general, she really wants to do whatever she wants to do. No matter how dangerous that thing might be.

How do you keep a 15 month old from climbing on the sofa? We tried taking the cushions off. She just uses them as steps to get onto the couch skeleton. I could shackle her ankles to the floor, but she's the kind of kid who might just chew her foot off.

We're expecting her to realize she can use the toys in her crib as steps any day now. Probably when we're at my parents house for Thanksgiving, because their crib is ever so slightly shallower than ours.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Make-up

In discussing our upcoming December activities, we realized that Elisabeth was going to miss 2 gym classes. We talked about how we'd have to schedule 2 make-up classes.

This delighted Elisabeth.

"I get to wear make-up???? And they teach classes about make-up????"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cabinet posts

As President Elect Obama names people to cabinet positions, I'd like to nominate Elisabeth for Trash Inspector General. You can't get anything by that kid.

A few days ago, Doug tried to trash the toy that the dentist gave her for behaving. It was a cardboard cutout elephant with a little stand and 4 rings. You tried to toss the rings around the elephant's nose. Sounds cute enough, but if you don't get rid of these sorts of thing on a regular basis, you'll end up having to get extracted from your home by the police, as though you were a hoarder. So, Doug tried to save us from this fate by putting the elephant in the trash. He tried to bury it, but apparently failed. Elisabeth went to throw away a candy wrapper and was taken aback by the horror she saw - the elephant in the trash! "Daddy! I wan't to KEEP the elephant! Why did you throw it away???"

Two days later, the cleaning lady came. After she left, Elisabeth said, "Daddy! Mercedes threw away some of my play money." When asked how she knew this, she replied, "I saw it in the trash bag that she took outside." So Doug, being a much better father than I will ever be a mother, dug through the trash and sure enough found a fake $20 in a bag that had been thrown out. As an aside, we suspect that Charlotte is the culprit who threw the $20 in the trash, she loves to throw things away. Luckily we don't worry about it too much, obviously Elisabeth will catch anything that makes its way into the trash can mistakenly. Or purposely, as the case may be.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The latest Little People game

I work for a judge. On Fridays I sit with her in court. My job on Fridays is largely just to hand her the files we've spent the entire week preparing - researching, etc. and then process the resulting orders. We typically see 25-35 cases on a Friday morning. We have a deputy who is up there with us too. It is very formal, "All rise. Court is now in session, the Honorable Judge X presiding." I skeddadle in just behind the judge and try not to create a scene as I dodge boxes on the way to my chair. And I sit there trying not to do stupid things. One time my shirt fell down, under my suit, which I'm hoping fills my quota of stupid things for the year.

Elisabeth has come to work twice now, each time we've walked through the entrance that is also the entrance to the jail. As I mentioned before, the idea of jail fascinates her. Why are they in there? Do they get out? What do they do in there? Will they die there?

Well, last time she was there, Elisabeth got to meet my judge. She was apparently quite impressed. Ever since then, she's been holding court in the bathtub with a selection of Little People and other figurines (Dora, Diego, and several Backyardigans). Somehow, the character chosen to play my judge was Angel (the angel from the Little People Nativity Set). A koala bear (named "Panda") plays me. And the deputy is played by Blue of Blue's Clues fame.

Earlier in the week, mean old Judge Angel sentenced Dora, Diego and all of the Backyardigans to long prison sentences. Diego's sentence was the longest, at 5 days. And she kept those felons behind bars until their sentence was up - no early parol on her watch. Diego got out yesterday.

After Diego got out, Elisabeth asked Doug what someone could do that was really bad. Doug replied that hurting someone is really bad; if one person hurt another with a gun, that would be really bad. Well, friends, Pablo the Backyardigan shot Boots the Monkey. Pablo had to stand trial in front of Judge Angel. The Judge began the proceedings with a proper "Bring in the Defendant!" She then questioned the Defendant. "State your full name." And, do you know what Pablo's full name is? Pablo A. Cavatica GHXFTS Backyardigan. After a full and fair trial on the merits, Pablo is in jail for a week (Doug the Defender talked her down from a year).

It was a heavy docket day for Judge Angel. After the Pablo trial, she had to listen to a robbery trial. Diego stole Tyrone the Backyardigan's duck. Dora witnessed the whole thing and had to testify. For some unknown reason, testifying caused Dora to start bleeding. Instead of taking her to the hospital, Elisabeth said she'd just take her to the judge who has magic, healing bandaids. The Judge found Diego guilty of larceny, and he has been sentenced - although no one seems to remember how many days he go. I guess now we all know how and why the court file was invented.

I'll be sure to update you with any breaking news in the Fisher Price, Noggin Character world. I'm beginning to think we might have a gang problem.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wild Kingdom

We live in suburbia, but back up to parkland. The parkland provides us with any number of wild animals. We've got foxes, snakes, deer, idiots hunting deer, squirrels, a zillion types of birds, beavers, and many many more. A few weeks ago, I saw two bucks sparring in our neighbor's front yard, pretty neat to watch. Just this morning, a fox trotted through our front yard. We have some enormous foxes.

I enjoy feeding the birds. As part of our Wild Kingdom, sometimes my bird feeding creates a feeding ground for hawks. The hawks swoop on birds about 3 feet in front of our living room window, providing for some interesting entertainment - especially when guests are over. Some of you might remember the war on squirrels that I was previously engaged in. I eventually won, if you consider removing half of my bird feeders and spending $70 on a new squirrel proof one winning. As with the war on terror, if you don't eradicate every last one of them, they apparently get stronger. And bigger.

Tonight as we were frantically making playdough when we remembered we were on the hook for a double batch of yellow playdoug tomorrow, Doug said, "what is that noise?" as we heard what sounded like Maggie and some friends tearing around on the deck. Maggie was asleep at my feet, so the noise was extra curious. We turned off all of the lights and peeked out onto the deck to find the cutest little raccoon head you've ever seen looking back at us. I quickly realized that my new $70 feeder was missing and suddenly the raccoon head looked more like a coonskin cap. Being the brave woman I am (need I remind you about the mouse?), I sent Doug out to retrieve my bird feeder from wherever the varmit took it.

As Doug opened the door from the porch to the deck, we heard an entire pack of raccoons - a nursery or a gaze according to Wikipedia - scurry off of the deck and into the woods (there were at least three, which to me constitutes a pack, nursery, gaze or all of the above). Our deck is two stories off of the ground, so they had a long way down and then they tore across the backyard as though their very lives depended on it.

I'm sure you'll all be relieved to know that the missing feeder was recovered mere inches from the scene of the crime. It had gotten stuck in the deck so the (adorable) wretched little beasts weren't able to haul it off. I'm almost sad to pull the feeders in each night because it means we won't get any more raccoon visitors.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Don't Forget the Lyrics - Preschool Edition

Elisabeth is very into singing these days, and the way she mangles lyrics provides us with some hearty laughs. Today's winners:

Oats bee bee an arley grow, Oats bee bee an arley grow, Mommy, how does the rest of it go? Oh right, Do you, or I, or anyone know how oats bee bee an arley grow?

You're..... a..... jimmy rat corn and I don't care, jimmy rat corn and I don't care, jimmy rat corn and I don't care, my master's gone away.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Balloons

Doug once said that he was dreading the day that a balloon of Elisabeth's popped. She loves balloons. And whenever something happens to a kid's balloon, it is a tragic event. Well... yesterday something happened to Elisabeth's balloon. We went to a birthday party for a kid in her class. They gave each kid a helium balloon, in the color of their choice. She chose blue, predictably. I tied it to her wrist like the good mother I am.

We then went to Costco, where I insisted that she let me untie it (foreshadowing alert!!!). We left the balloon in the car and did our shopping. We piled back into the car and came home. I said, as we exited the car, "Elisabeth, go straight inside. Do NOT let go of your balloon. Don't go out in the driveway. Just go inside." (see how good I am at reinforcement?) And, as you can all guess... she went outside. It was just too exciting, the neighbors showed up with their new dog Jack. Doug and Charlotte came outside too. In all of the excitement, the balloon got released.

I have never, and I mean never, seen Elisabeth react so strongly to something, including last weekend when I scared the bejeezus out of her for picking up a dead mouse. The wailing was Oscar worthy. Charlotte, who is apparently the most sympathetic kid ever, burst into tears immediately upon Elisabeth's outburst. So there we stood in our driveway, Doug holding a sobbing Charlotte and me holding a sobbing Elisabeth. Neighbors all looked up to see what in the world we had done to our kids.

I tried to get Elisabeth to see how cool the balloon looked way up in the sky, as high as the airplanes. She did not appreciate the magnificence. We tried to just calm her down and hug her. No luck. So I pulled out the big guns. "Elisabeth, I bought you a Christmas present. I'll give it to you now if you'll stop crying..." "NO Mommy!!! Don't give me my Christmas present now!" This is when I knew we were really in trouble.

All that I had left in my bag of tricks was a promise to go out and find her another blue balloon on Sunday. She said that was ok, and we went inside where she continued to cry, on and off, for about an hour. Our neighbors' kids, who are two of the sweetest kids on earth, witnessed the meltdown and snuck over with a yellow helium balloon left over from a birthday party the day before and left it on our front doorstep. Elisabeth was grateful for another balloon but kept on crying and saying pathetic things. "I miss my balloon." "Can we go look for my balloon?" "Mommy, why did you let my balloon fly away? I was trying to give it to you."

True to my word (and since she asked me about it 15 times), I set out today to find her a blue balloon. At the grocery store, which would be our only stop, all they had were mylar balloons. But for $3.99, it was worth not having to drive around aimlessly looking for a place that was both open on Sunday and sold regular balloons. I had one of these fancy "TV carts" that Safeway now offers. They are a smaller shopping cart with a car in the front for kids to sit in. In the car is a tv screen that shows episodes of things like Bob the Builder. Charlotte and Elisabeth got in. 5 seconds later, Charlotte got out through the front window - despite being buckled in. The kid is Houdini. I put her back in. She got back out. After 3 more attempts, I finally said "forget it" and threw her in the back with the food. She proceeded to climb out of the cart and nearly kill herself a few times. So I tried to carry her and push a very heavy cart (those TV carts are not nimble little sporty things). This did not go well for many reasons, not the least of which is Charlotte's habit of going limp in an effort to make you put her down.

So, I picked out a mylar balloon and let Charlotte hold it, in the back of the cart, while I pushed. She spent the next 7 aisles beating me senseless with the balloon while hollering and making aggressive sounding grunting noises. The nice little old lady behind me in line, witnessing the abuse, said, "my, she's a rugged little thing, isn't she? Ready for anything..."

And then she followed that up with, "but her sister is so nice and quiet..." Lady, if you only knew....

Monday, November 3, 2008

Funny Elisabeth-isms

Just some recent Elisabeth funnies:

When she brushes her teeth, she doesn't use water to rinse. She takes a dry washcloth and wipes out the inside of her mouth.

Yesterday, she asked for chocolate turtlenecks for dessert (she wanted turtles - those chocolate, walnut, caramel blobs of goodness).

At breakfast, she asked us what manure is. And then after we told her, proceeded to list all the different possible types of manure, a la Bubba from Forest Gump. We were stumped on whether there could be such a thing as ostrich manure, but in the end we decided that there could be.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

job funny

I don't think I can give you the specifics without getting into trouble, but here is an overview of my favorite phone conversation from my new job.

"Sir, sir.... you're going to have to turn down Lynyrd Skynyrd while you tell me about how your daddy died while you were in prison thereby screwing you out of some money, and how exactly this is my fault. I just can't hear you over Sweet Home Alabama."

On why I am not an outdoors-woman

We went for a long walk this morning: our neighbor Jean, her dog Georgia, Elisabeth, Maggie and me. We walked through neighborhoods, to a tennis court. Then we walked on the cross-county trail back to our neighborhood. This trail is paved and winds through wooded areas, next to a stream.

As we walked, Elisabeth picked up trash. She has an eagle eye. As you'll remember, we have cats. They LOVE to play with toy mice. Elisabeth said, "Jean! Look what I found!" She was bent down picking up ------- a dead mouse. I might have screamed "OH MY GOD ITS A DEAD MOUSE" like a pre-teen girl. I know that I scared the daylights out of poor little Elisabeth who immediately dropped the mouse and burst into tears. I tried to comfort her, but she was really upset. I explained that we can't pick up dead mice because they have germs. And that she'd need to refrain from touching her face until we got home and could wash her hands. She told me, between boo-hoos that she thought it was a toy mouse. And then we set off on our way home. Elisabeth still crying. Me apologizing profusely for scaring her. Elisabeth walking with her little arms at 45 degree angles from her body, so that the germs wouldn't get on her clothes. She walked the entire way home like that. Except for when she was so distraught that she couldn't climb the huge steep hill up to our neighborhood and made me give her a piggy back ride.

I even tried explaining that the germs couldn't be that bad because our cats kill and eat mice and they're still alive. She didn't buy it. She thought she had some sort of horribly caustic substance eating away at her flesh. And it was passable between people. She was plagued, in her mind.

After we got home and washed up, she was still feeling melancholy. So I gave her some crackers and let her relax on the couch for awhile. About 45 minutes later, she came to me with her palms up and asked what these little red dots were. She had fallen down on the pavement yesterday, which I think caused the little dots, but I'm pretty sure she thought the end was near.

As much as I overreacted to the dead mouse, I'm pretty sure the Academy will be sending Elisabeth an award for her performance today. I think there's a very good chance that the entire overreaction was staged as a way to get out of going with us to the grocery store (and it worked).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Turn your head for one second...

and you find your kid here:







Doug heard Charlotte playing nicely on the floor. And then he turned around and found out that the floor was really the kitchen table. And now that she knows she can do it, we're having a hard time keeping her off of the table. Note the second child factor at play in this picture. Instead of moving her, or at a minimum making her sit down, he takes a picture.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Nice Chinese Grandmother at Costco

I took Elisabeth to Costco on Saturday. We had a great trip as far as samples go. They bring out the good stuff on Saturdays. So by the time we got to the little deli/cafe thing, we weren't starving. We decided to split a piece of pizza, some fries, and a Coke.

As we sat there with pizza grease dripping off of our chins, a very nice Chinese lady sat down at our table (they are big long tables) with her daughter. I don't think that either of them spoke English, but I know that the grandmother didn't. She was so sweet, she kept waving at Elisabeth and smiling and making faces.

Elisabeth said "Hi" multiple times, but there was no reaction - clearly the woman didn't even understand "hi." So I explained to her that the woman spoke Chinese, and I asked her if she knew how to say hello in Chinese. She said that she did not, so I asked her if she had ever seen the Nick Jr show with the little girl named Kai-lan. Apparently she has watched the show because she immediately said, loudly, "Ni hao!!!" The woman looked surprised and said "Ni hao, ni hao!" a few times, while waving.

We finished up our healthy lunch and "cleared the table." Elisabeth whispered to me, "mommy, how do you say goodbye in Chinese?" I told her that I didn't know, we'd have to come home and find out on the internet. She seemed satisfied with that answer.

As we walked out, she stopped in front of the woman and said - very loudly - "ADIOS! ADIOS!!!" So at least now we know that the Chinese word for goodbye is not adios...

The Big Bad Wolf

I haven't posted much this week! Hopefully I can make up for that this week... I've got some stories stored up.

Today I finally finished Elisabeth's Halloween costume. When she said she wanted to be the Big Bad Wolf, I thought "Great! Not a girly princess - I'll take it!" Then I set out to find a Big Bad Wolf costume and quickly realized that they don't really make them. Sure there are a few, but they are tragically horrible, or made for adults. Somewhere along the line, I decided that fake fur and a sewing machine sounded like a great idea. My mom would be in town to help get me started, it was a plan. A very bad plan.

But many hours and dollars later, I have finished the costume. And I'm proud to say that I did all of it myself, except for the zipper which my mom swiftly declared me incapable of attempting. I have fake fur in my hair. On my clothes. In my mouth. All over my house. At least it blends in well with Maggie's fur.

All of the effort was worth it though, because she looks unbearably cute. The finished costume for Halloween night will have some clothes. Apparently the Big Bad Wolf typically wears clothes, so I need to find a pair of pants that I can cut a tail hole into.

Here are some pictures. And here's to Cinderella for next year. (oh, Charlotte is fittingly going as a skunk because she is a little stinker)

Costume, complete with rawr-ing pose:


The Big Bad Wolf scowl:




Wolf Frolic

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Doug's birthday, crepes, and a bruised ego

Thursday was Doug's birthday. Elisabeth was very excited to give him her gift, which was a plate painted at one of those paint your own pottery places. I took the girls a few weeks ago, on a Saturday morning under the guise of going to the library. Now, when you're in a phase where the almost daily lesson is "lying is bad, tell the truth," teaching your kid to lie to Daddy and tell him that we did really go to the library when we didn't is hard and possibly ill advised. So I told her to tell Daddy that we didn't go to the library, but we couldn't tell him where we went because it was a surprise. That worked quite well, and he didn't pursue it. She would have folded like a piece of paper if he had asked, I don't think the CIA is in her future.

While we were at the pottery store, I held Charlotte while watching Elisabeth paint. Anyone who has ever tried to hold Charlotte knows that she is a wiggly thing who does NOT like to be held for extended periods of time. And putting her down on the floor, in a room full of not inexpensive pottery, is almost quite literally like putting a bull in a china shop. So I held her. I thought to myself, "hey - she can probably hold a paint brush and contribute to the present..." And indeed she can hold a paint brush. She can also suck all of the paint off of the paint brush while you're oohing and aaahing over Elisabeth's handiwork. She looks quite nice with a robin's egg blue colored mouth. They assured me that the paint is non-toxic, but I'm pretty sure this gets on my application for Mother of the Year.

Every year for Doug's birthday, we have a crepe fest. Doug eats crepes with peach and strawberry filling until he's literally ill. On average, I make about 20 crepes. That used to mean 5ish for me, 11ish for Doug, 2ish for Maggie and some leftovers for snacks. This year's crepe fest totals:

Doug: 5.
Me: none.
Maggie: none.
Elisabeth and Charlotte: 15???

It was so very disappointing that Doug didn't get to eat himself sick, and, well, I didn't get to eat at all. So we decided to have Crepe Fest, the Sequel tonight. I tripled the batch, which should mean about 30 crepes. Everyone is stuffed and we have 3 left over. We didn't keep a count, although Doug claims that he's met his match in Elisabeth.

Just after I finished making the crepes, I decided that eating them while wearing my favorite cashmere sweater was ill-advised. So I grabbed my new t-shirt that I got at a barbeque yesterday and said, "I'll just change here and hope no one comes to the door." This piqued Elisabeth's interest. "Why don't you want anyone to come to the door, Mommy?" And I said, "Because I'm changing shirts." And Doug chimed in, "if they came to the door while Mommy was changing clothes, they'd see her without her shirt on." Without missing a beat, Elisabeth said, "And they'd run away???"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pictures galore.

Many pictures from the last few months... sorry to do them all at once, but better late than never right??

First, this beautiful piece of artwork. It is supposed to be Elisabeth. Her preschool teachers had her draw it and they hung it up on the wall. Check out the snout and the sideburns. Fabulous.



Here is the Big Bad Wolf costume in progress... complete with Big Bad Wolf scary pose.



Charlotte with her favorite little chair:



she sits on it...



Elisabeth loves my boots.


Elisabeth wearing an MIT sweatshirt:


Elisabeth and Sam at the Cox Farm Fall Festival. It is really too bad they couldn't have more fun.



Doug and Elisabeth on the big potato sack slide



Charlotte with one of her favorite foods:


This past weekend, we went to Doug's mom's house in western New York, south of Rochester. We hit peak leaf season, and it was gorgeous!!! Here are a few pictures from that visit.

Elisabeth and cousins help Gram fish the goldfish out of their summer home and transport them to their warmer winter digs.



Elisabeth, behind the wheel. No humans or creatures were injured during this photoshoot (that we know of).



Elisabeth, red boots, and leaves:


Elisabeth on a bale of hay:




The morning walk:

Oddest thing yet I've found in Charlotte's mouth

and the award goes to.... a half chewed ladybug. Protein, I guess.

We think that Miss Charlotte, who says virtually no recognizable words, can secretly talk. She just doesn't want us to know. In the middle of the night the other night, while we were at Doug's mom's house, Charlotte started to cry. And cry. And cry some more. Then she settled down and started to play in her crib (at 3am). Elisabeth made the mistake of rolling over, and the air mattress she was sleeping on was visible to Miss Charlotte. Charlotte said, clear as day, "Elisabeth, hiyiyiyiyiyiyi!" Then, the next morning, she went back to using the word "DAAAAA" for everything - said at the highest decibel level she can reach.

volleyball

The rules of pre-bath volleyball:

First to 21 wins. I serve. Elisabeth gets 1 point for hitting it at all. 2 points for hitting it in my general direction. 3 points for hitting it directly back to me. The only way I can score points is if I manage to hit her rear end with the ball during one of her celebratory somersaults. That earns me one point. Needless to say, I'm 0-2.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

the blushing bride...

Tonight, during our playtime before bath, I was left to fend of the beasts all on my own as Doug went out to play soccer. For some reason, the girls decided to take it easy on me and were satisfied with playing with my shoes. Charlotte has become fascinated by shoes in the past week or so - she particularly enjoys wearing any shoes that are mine. So I got out a few pairs of shoes and she enjoyed putting them on and attempting to walk. This left my hands free to deal with Elisabeth, who was wearing some of my highest heels. Here is what she said:

E: It is my wedding night, Mommy! Get up and dance with me!
Me: Your wedding? That's so nice, what are you wearing?
E: My wedding dress. Its soooo beautiful.
Me: What color is it?
E (looking at me like I am a moron because she is clearly wearing a blue shirt): uh, blue?
Me: Oh, a blue wedding dress. How gorgeous.
E: Yes, I know. It is my wedding, I am the bride. I am beautiful. Let's dance!
Me: Ok ok.
E: Ok, now that the wedding is over, I need to go to the hospital and get my baby out.
Me: right after your wedding? Like right now?
E: Yes! Right now! Time for the new baby to come!
Me: That explains the blue dress.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Little People and addresses

I love listening in on Elisabeth's time playing with her Little People. She has such interesting games that she likes to play. I took her to work with me a few weeks ago. We walked by the jail, and I pointed it out to her. I should think about these things before doing them. She was really concerned about people going to jail. Did they ever get out? How did they get out? Why did they go to jail? Are they bad? Do they die in there? Well they die in there if they never get out, right? You just said some people don't get out.

So, on Saturday, after a fun filled super secret event that I'll have to blog about on Oct. 16, Elisabeth sat on the floor playing with her Little People. All 583 of them. She took a long piece of string and put it in a very straight line on the floor. She lined those people right up. And then one by one, they all went to jail. Until Charlotte wanted one. That one got a pardon. But she took each one of them and told them they were bad and were off to jail. Now, you might remember that we have a very special Little People set- the Nativity Set. With characters like Mary and Joseph. Who both- you guessed it - went to jail. As did Noah. And the angel. And all of the shephards. Baby Jesus did not go to jail, though. This is because Baby Jesus may well be lost, again. He turns up every so often, but I'm not sure he's currently locatable.

Today was fire safety awareness day at gym class. How this ties into gym class, we're not sure, but they taught them to stop, drop, and roll - so I guess rolling is gym related. Anyway, they taught the kids to call 9-1-1 and even made them practice calling using a fake phone. Elisabeth tells us that she got Miss Congeniality because her message was the nicest. I thought it might be a good idea to quiz her on our address at dinner. So I asked her if she knew our address. She replied "1123" (numbers changed to protect the innocent). I asked her our road, and she knew that too. Then, I said, "now if someone asks you your address, you can tell them!" Again, I should think before I speak. I immediately qualified that statement with, 'if teachers, policemen, or firemen ask you for your address, you can tell them. But don't tell strangers." Of course she asked why she shouldn't tell strangers our address, to which Doug replied "we don't want them to come and bother us." And so she said, "ooooh ok. If a stranger asks for my address, I am going to tell them 1124!" That will throw them off...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

in which Erica plots the demise of a preschooler... and not my own.

After preschool today, Elisabeth asked Doug, "Daddy, is Santa Claus real? Or do you and mommy put the toys in the stocking?" He responded with "What do you think?" And then, mercifully, the UPS man came and she was immediately distracted by the new box in the house. (quite literally saved by the bell).

I'm crushed! I love being Santa!! I'm glad we haven't had to either lie to her or fess up to her just yet - but where is she getting this information???? Obviously it is one of the little kids in her class. Most likely one with an older sibling. A mean, mean older sibling. And I plan to find out which one. And tell them that there is in fact a Santa, but he just doesn't come to their house because they're bad, bad kids. I have an email to the other parents drafted in my head, but I am going to employ the smart strategy of sitting on it for 24 hrs and then toning it down.

Oh another note, I am impressed that Doug had the presence of mind to answer her question with a question. I'm pretty sure I would have stammered uncomfortably and then lied to her. I'm going to be fabulous with those talks about boys...

Elisabeth has been into singing lately. She makes up all sorts of songs. Here is a recent one that she was singing in her room before bed - I love seeing how her mind works things out.

(sung to the tune of something that sounds a bit like our new favorite song in this house - "When You Wish Upon a Star")

When Mommy and Daddy are talking, and I want to talk, I have to waaaaaait.
But when Daddy and me are talking, and Mommy wants to talk, she has to waaaaaaait.
And if Mommy and me are talking, and Daddy wants to talk, he has to waaaaaaaait.
And if Me and Charlotte are talking, and Mommy or Daddy want to talk, they have to..... Mommy? Do you and Daddy have to wait if Charlotte and I are talking?

Little Miss Charlotte (formerly known as Cranky Pants, but overnight has become Happiest Child Ever) is an accomplished climber. Today, she climbed into her high chair 100% unassisted. And yesterday Doug looked up and saw a 13 month old's head pop up over the back of the couch. So, life around here just got a bit more dangerous. She is also almost doing somersaults all on her own. She is so close. She can't talk, but we're thinking of putting her on the Chinese Olympic gymnastic team for 2012.

Phillies Fever has hit this household hard. This evening, Shane Victorino - perhaps the favored Phillie in this house, certainly Elisabeth's favorite Phillie, hit a grand slam home run off of arguably the league's best pitcher. Elisabeth was in the tub. But when she got to see it on re-play (thank you Tivo Gods!), she jumped around and had a "celebration" as she calls it. We've been working on her touchdown dance as well. The Phils are 2-0 in this series. One more win and we get to go to the NLCS. Excitement is running high.

Finally, there haven't been any crazy people at the courthouse this week. Unless you count Heather, and I don't think she counts because I couldn't get the deputies to take her down. It has been relatively quiet. Of course, Fridays bring out the biggest crazies, so I withhold final comment until tomorrow evening.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

chree.

Elisabeth and I had a little argument on the way home from lunch today. We were playing the spelling game. She spells a word, then I spell a word. It is speller's choice as to the word. I chose tree. Here's how it went.

Me: T-R-E-E- tree!!!
E: no.
Me: yes!
E: no.
E: Ch, ch, ch, chree. Mommy, its c-h-"ree"
Me: no, its t-r-e-e. Tr just sounds like ch sometimes. Train, tragedy, trying.
E: Its ch, Mommy. Chree. Not t. There is no t.
Me: ok, we're home now. Go in and ask your daddy how you spell tree.
E: ok. but you're wrong.
Me: you just ask.
E (running inside): Daddy, how do you spell tree?
Doug: c-h-r-e-e
Me: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't know how we expect our children to turn out ok. Somehow Elisabeth manages to tell when we're joking around with her.

Another funny story from this week... We always play upstairs before bath/bed time. The games are usually physical in nature: volleyball, tackle, soccer, crazy dog, etc. Wednesday night, the game was not as Elisabeth wanted and so she was up on the bed being naughty. She stood up on the foot of the bed, directly over my head (I was sitting on the ground). She is not allowed to stand up on the bed. And, of course, she fell off. Onto my head. And I yelled at her, maybe more than it merited, but I really don't need any ER trips with preschoolers.

She started to cry pretty hard, but she wasn't hurt. So I asked if falling scared her, if that is why she was crying so much. Through her boo hoos, she said "no, mommy, you scared me." And Doug couldn't control his snickers.

and, my running list of exciting happenings at the courthouse since I've been working there: vomiting in open court (not me, some party), childbirth on the 2nd floor, and crazy man wandering the halls of our floor, throwing things, breaking bathroom doors, pounding on walls, and entering private offices (he got taken down by the deputies).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

failing miserably!!

I am failing miserably at posting here 3x/week. And no one is calling me on it. Tsk tsk. In my defense, my days lately go like this: wake up at 6:45, get dressed and leave for work sometime between 8 and 8:30 (depending on if I drop Elisabeth off at preschool). Work until 5ish and then come home, have dinner, do bed and bath with girls and then work until 10ish. (9ish tonight). So really, are you people interested in that? I'm certainly not interested in remembering this.

So as an update, the Halloween costume is not complete but good progress has been made. I got this brown "poodle fur" type of fabric and made a jumper thing with long sleeves and legs - so she mostly looks like a gorilla when she wears it now. I figure a tail and a mask with wolf-ish ears will help convert us from gorilla-esque to wolf-esque. I need to get some little piggies for her to carry around with her, to give some guidance to others as to what she is. Or perhaps a better plan is to sew a sign to her back that says "I'm the big bad wolf and don't mention this sign to the wearer of this costume."

There were no significant injuries during the making of the costume. The costume, however, is not finished. I did poke my finger with a needle, but I survived. And, blame my mother. She stuck the needle in a dangerous place. If I had done that, I would have been putting all children within a 4 mile radius in imminent danger, but if she does it all I get is an "oh, sorry."

Elisabeth has confused buttercups with suction cups. Insects have buttercups on their legs to help them climb walls. So sweet. Elisabeth has also been sick all week.

Charlotte has been in a fabulous mood the past few days. Clearly she is coming down with whatever Elisabeth has. Good mood and Charlotte are not synonymous as of late. Luckily she's hilariously funny in her grumpiness. Poor second children get laughed at when they pitch fits over ridiculous things.

In an important milestone, Charlotte can make monkey noises when you ask her what a monkey says. Tonight I taught her cat and dog noises which are potentially more useful for her.

I think I've run out of even semi-interesting things to say.

Friday, September 19, 2008

politeness

Elisabeth, by all accounts, has very good manners. The problem is that she doesn't quite get what things are really, truly nice. An example...

Me: Elisabeth, you look like you have to go to the bathroom, do you?
E: Yes! I have to poop! And youuuuuu can wipe my bottom. I don't want to hurt your feelings. I'm being nice.

or...

Me: Elisabeth, do you want some chicken nuggets?
Elisabeth: Yes please! And you get to get them for me, because I'm nice and I let you.

I'm glad we've created a little world for her in which she is the center of the universe, but perhaps maybe it is time to let her know that wiping her butt isn't really, truly my idea of a fabulous time.

Charlotte walks everywhere now. It is too cute. She's still wobbly and looks like a baby giraffe or something. She is also quite a climber, and I believe she is the textbook example of "independent cuss." She wants no part of being held or cuddling. And if you kiss her, she gives you an evil look and turns her head. She wants to be put down and she wants to go about her business. Her business is playing with every single toy and non-toy in the house. If it is anything less than 3 feet off of the ground, she grabs it and plays with it.

The only cuddling you get with this one is by putting her on your back in the Ergo.

As an aside, does anyone else get actually dizzy in some supermarket aisles? The cereal aisle especially. I walk down it and, perhaps I walk to fast, but the fast color changes out of the corner of my eyes makes me feel like I might get dizzy and fall over.

This weekend, I might try and sew a Halloween costume for Elisabeth. Lord, help us all.

double knots

So, I'm a law clerk and as a law clerk, I get to sit with the judge in court one day a week. Two weeks ago, I was wearing my nice black suit, with the jacket buttoned. Under the jacket, I wore a nice red/pink sweater that tied around the neck. The only thing holding that sweater up was a tied ribbon. And, friends, lesson learned. Double knot whatever it is keeping you from flashing a courtroom. As I'm sitting there listening to some oral arguments I think.... hmmmm, I feel a bit of a breeze. I look down and my sweater is now around my waist. Thank heavens the jacket buttoned up enough to keep me decent, but leaning over might have lessened that decency.

So I had to sit there and figure out how in the world I was going to re-dress myself without everyone knowing. And can you imagine how hard the people who watched the whole situation "un-furl" laughed? I turned my chair around and pretended to shuffle the files that I keep in boxes behind me. I managed to get myself re-dressed relatively quickly, but it provided a good laugh and an important life lesson.

At least I didn't give birth on the 2nd floor of the courthouse like someone did two days ago.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

IM from Elisabeth

just a quick one tonight. I know I failed in my 3 updates last week. Blahblahblah. Work got busy, I got tired. I do have fun stories from this past weekend though, which I will hopefully post tomorrow.

But this is an IM that I received from Elisabeth this past week. Thankfully I can use electronic means of communication to keep up with her life while I am at work.

MOMMY I A GOING TOBRINPRINS CHRMIN AND SINDRELA OWSIDE

These are the important things in life!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I don't want them to get older!!!

I know that you can't protect your kids from the world forever. And that eventually most kids turn out to be somewhat decent adults (ok, maybe that is an overstatement). But, a story that Doug related to me about this little girl at the preschool opening day celebration has me really annoyed.

The opening day celebration was on the school grounds. Lots of kids were on the playground, including Elisabeth. There are two "house" structures on the playground. Elisabeth and this little girl were playing in one of the houses. After awhile, Elisabeth came over to Doug and asked, "Daddy, how do I become beautiful?" And he said, "what do you mean?" And she said, "That little girl said that only beautiful people can play in that house."

Doug handled the situation differently than I would have. I would have snatched the little girl bald-headed and let her know just how beautiful my little Elisabeth is. Doug, the high road taker that he is, told her that she is beautiful and that the little girl wasn't playing nicely. And then he told her to go play in the other house, and make it the nice house that anyone could play in. So she did. And then little boys came in to play. And then the little boys decided it was the "boys only" house and that she had to go. But, my little shrinking violet told them that it was not going to be the "boys only" house, but that it could be the "boys and one girl only" house. They were happy with that, and all played happily.

Ever since Doug told me that story, though, I've kind of had this pit in my stomach of the things to come. I don't know how I'll sit idly by and watch my little girls go through what all little girls go through. Maybe I should start a bail bond fund. But seriously, this aspect of child rearing seems so out of my control and so awful. Certainly a big check mark in the plus column for home-schooling. Luckily Elisabeth didn't seem too sad and couldn't really even recount the story to me, which means it didn't really bug her. So I guess as long as she isn't bothered, I shouldn't be too worked up over it. But that little girl better hope she doesn't see me in a dark preschool hallway...

In happier news, Charlotte chose today to really start walking. She's so cute. She takes a few good sturdy steps. Then the wobble starts. It starts pretty small, just a balance check. But with each step the wobble gets greater until it knocks her right over.

We saw a deer in our backyard today, eating my butterfly garden. Most people would probably be upset about this, but in this house we are thrilled to get a deer so close to the house in broad daylight. Elisabeth and Charlotte were both excited, but for Charlotte it was one of the most exciting things she's ever experienced. She thought it was a dog. She clapped. She banged on the window. Clapped some more. Bounced. Hollered. I hope that deer comes back, just for Miss Charlotte.

In my next post, I will shamelessly brag about Elisabeth's art skills. Let's just say, she definitely got my artistic genes.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

3 weeks...

That's how long Doug made it as the primary caretaker of the children before the police were called. I made it 3.5 years.

He took the girls in the double decker stroller out of our neighborhood, down the walking path, and to a gravel parking lot. He took the girls out of the stroller and took both of them down to the stream, where there are huge boulders to play on. As he's packing them back into the stroller, a cop pulls up and ambles over. The cop asks him if that's his stroller. He wisely kept his snarky remark to himself and just said yes. The cop told him that some concerned citizen saw an abandoned baby stroller and called the police, thinking there might be a baby in it. As the cop said, what kind of concerned citizen who thinks a baby has been abandoned in a stroller doesn't actually stop? Anyway, Doug didn't end up in any trouble, but it did provide us with a lot of laughs on Friday.

Last night, Elisabeth showed us that she'd make a fabulous lawyer, probably even now. She was apparently trying to put as many black beans as she can into her mouth (as an aside, our dear heroine can eat almost an entire can of black beans in a sitting). I told her not to shove "too many" black beans in her mouth. She managed to swallow what she had in there and then asked, "is 2 too many, Mommy?" No. "What about 3.5?" No, that would be ok. "10? How many is too many?" Somewhere between 3.5 and 10 is too many, and too many must also vary with age.

We all survived Tropical Storm Hanna. The flood plain behind our house was higher than anyone in our neighborhood remembers it being. The access road to our neighborhood (the only way in and out) flooded with probably 2.5-3 feet of water stranding and flooding at least one minivan. Elisabeth and I foolishly went out to the library yesterday morning to read some books and got soaked. Driving was hazardous to say the least, lots of pooled water on the side of the roads and road closures.

Elisabeth starts preschool again this week. She'll be the youngest in her class, but I'm not too worried. As someone at the wedding last weekend said, "she's got some sort of leadership ability." In her class, each morning when the kids get there they are supposed to find their little name tag on one chart and then pick a "daily task" on another chart and stick their name on it. In other words, tasks are on a first come, first serve basis. I'm just telling you now, she is going to harass us to death to get there first. Our prediction is that "line leader" will be her position of choice since "dictator" is unavailable.

OK, new deal - I resolve to update this at least 3x/week from now on. You are allowed to email me and harass me if I do not. See - if I don't, entertaining and noteworthy things happen and then I promptly forget them. Remembering these things was the entire purpose of this blog.

Monday, September 1, 2008

fun weekend

We just got home from a whirlwind trip to Boston and then Wareham, MA. In Boston, we showed Elisabeth (and a sleeping Charlotte) a few of the MIT sites, including Baker House where I lived. Elisabeth thought it was pretty neat, but for the most part all she wanted to do was play tennis. "This is where Mommy lived for four years, Elisabeth." "Oh. Daddy? Will you take me to play tennis now?" Now that's enthusiasm.

Then we went to see my dear friend Becky and her family. I lived with Becky at Baker for 2 years (and despite that fact, we're still great friends...). I hadn't ever met her 20 month old little girl, Lily - which is shameful - and I was so excited to pinch the cheeks I had been seeing in pictures for the past 20 months. I was also very excited to see her condo because, well, for some number of years now I've heard a lot of things about it. I mean, I think it says a lot about my IM habits when I can go through her condo - that I've never been in - and tell you details about the things that went into the decisions about paint colors, furniture, mirrors, light fixtures, deck furniture, etc. It is a beautiful condo and such a fun area.

Then we drove down to Wareham, MA (which is on Buzzards Bay) for Adam and Alicia's wedding. Elisabeth had been prepping for this for months, practicing all of her "dance moves" in the house. She was ecstatic to have students willing to learn her dance moves. Almost immediately upon arrival, Elisabeth taught "Owl-ex" all of the moves she had filed away in her brain. Then later that evening, she made him put on a recital at the rehearsal dinner. He, in a rare showing of good sense, convinced her that they could dance somewhere other than the dance floor.

That very same day, Saturday, Charlotte took her first steps!!! She stood there, holding on to the coffee table, with a very different look in her eyes. We surmise that she watched Lily earlier in the day and decided her time had come. Her personal best is 5 steps in a row, and since Saturday, her interest in walking has plummeted. But, we have a repeatable 4 steps which I think counts.

On Sunday, we had Becky, Gordon, Lily, Mia, Mike, Jen, Jeff and Nathan over to the house where we were staying and Becky made something called Dutch Babies. I think it sounds sick and wrong to say things like "hey, throw the Dutch Babies in the oven, " and "can we eat the Dutch Babies?" but I learned long ago that people from Fall River have funny sayings and so I don't ask. Dutch Babies are a sort of oven pancake and you put fruit or syrup or sugar or, Gordon and I think you could put things like flank steak, sausages, cheese, etc on them. It was really great to sit around a table with wonderful friends.

Later Sunday was the wedding, in perhaps the most beautiful location you could get for a wedding - overlooking the bay. After the ceremony, there was the reception. Elisabeth had the time of her life, dragging Jesse, Alex, and Amanda out on to the dance floor and making them twirl and do the marching dance.

Let's just say that 2 late nights + travel + sleeping in a different place than usual = crabby children and crabby crabby Mommy. That said, I was sad to leave. I definitely would have enjoyed staying a few more days.

But alas, I don't have any vacation days yet. I'm a working girl, now, so back to it I go. You will all be very happy to know that I did not embarass myself in court at all this past week. Sure, sure, there may have been an angry missive mailed to a higher up, it may have been about me. But its ok. The author is lacking in credibility. And it provided a good laugh for everyone involved. It took me a little while longer to laugh, but I'm laughing now.

I'm adjusting to this working thing, and I think that with every day I get a little faster with my job. Pretty soon I'll be working 9-4:30 and I'll be much much happier. And maybe post a few more blog entries. As it stands, I keep mental notes of blog posts to write. And, it turns out that with all of the other stresses going on in my life right now - the mental notes aren't worth the price of the paper they're written on. So somewhere in the depths of my brain, I have a wealth of hilarious stories to tell you. Maybe one day they'll emerge!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I do exist!

Working full time is less fun than it sounded like it would be. I have been in training for the past week. I thought "training" would be easy, short days. I was WRONG. I pulled 3 11 hour days last week and 2 9.5 hr days (from the time I left until the time I got home). I think, hope, pray that the entire year will not be like this. My predecessor in the position only worked like 35 hrs/week - and I'm pretty sure that once I hit my stride I can do the same. But getting there will be tough. This is the week we get thrown into the fire. I think I'm ready, but I am also definitely in a position to really screw something up.

So what have the kids done this week? How would I know? I can barely even write that without bursting into tears. Heaven help the poor fools who asked me how my job is going at our neighborhood happy hour on Friday night (they got a ridiculously tear filled response).

But, Elisabeth has managed to make us laugh a few times this weekend. But before the funny stories, you'll be happy to know, she went with me to Costco. She even enjoyed it. We went without Charlotte, which I think made her happiest of all. We got to eat our hot dogs and have our Cokes in peace.

As a preliminary to the next story - Doug has a brother named Nick. On the way home from Costco, I told Elisabeth I was going to invent a new nickname for her. She is tired of Tallulah Bell, LizzyLou, and the most frequent name I call her - Lulu (which is short for Lulabell). So I now, occasionally, refer to her as Twinkle Toes, making her full name - as per Elisabeth - Elisabeth Virginia Twinkle Toes. When we got home, a few hours later, she said to Doug, "Hey, Daddy.... Mommy made me a new.... a new..... uh.... a new..... unclename?" Doug, being the smart cookie that he is, immediately made the Uncle Nick connection.

Then, last night, Elisabeth asked me to read her this book: The Tale of the Three Trees which is about these three trees, one of which becomes Jesus' manger, one becomes the boat that Jesus is in on the lake when he calms the storm, and one of which becomes the cross. It is actually a very nice story. But I am increasingly hesitant to read it to Elisabeth because, well, she wants to get into advanced theology that (a) I'm not qualified to talk about and (b) goes well beyond her ability to understand. So last night, we talked about the following things:
  • That the next time there is a storm, she will spread her arms out and say "Peace." I wish I had a video camera for this because, well, it was classic.
  • That Jesus died.
  • That kings can be mean.
  • That a king killed Jesus because they thought he was telling lies (remember, we're in the lying phase, I thought capitalizing on this might be a good idea until she said, with a pale face and wide eyes, "THEY KILL YOU FOR TELLING LIES??" and I had to backtrack and explain that this was in a different time where people got killed for all sorts of things, but that it most certainly wouldn't happen now.)
  • That yes, Jesus also called himself a king (where did she learn this?!?!)
  • That not just everyone can come back to life.
  • That Jesus got sent to Earth by his Daddy to live here and teach people.
  • That Earth is where we live.
  • No, that Earth is also where Mexicans live.
  • Yes, that Mercedes (the cleaning lady) also lives on Earth.
  • That no, the bird that crashed into the window and died cannot come back to life because it is not God.
  • And no, neither can the dead deer we saw on the way to Costco. Because it is not God. Or God's son. I didn't even get to the holy trinity, we got stuck on just the duo.

Then, she asked, "Who is God?" I told her that he made everyone and all of the animals and everything on Earth. And then she asked what happens when people die. And why, if God could bring Jesus back to life, he can't bring other things back to life. It was at this point that I realized I was in way over my head and told her that it was confusing, even to adults. But that Grandmommy would be more than happy to tell her all about it. I've heard rumblings of last night's discussion throughout the day today. I hope I haven't screwed up her religious beliefs at the ripe old age of 3. I was mostly just really relieved when she stopped asking questions. I have no idea how to explain these things. I can't even explain them all to myself!

Today, she has decided that she wants to do rythmic gymnastics, because, well, they get to not only play with hoops and batons, but they get to THROW the hoops and batons. She was pretty sad to hear that the Olympics are over.

OK another week begins tomorrow. Tragedy of tragedies, we've learned that they have blocked yahoo fantasy sports and facebook so that we can't access them from work. You have no idea how crushed I am. I love surfing the waiver wire and, well, facebook is an addiction. But maybe this will inspire me to work faster so that I can get home sooner. Hopefully I'll have a "happier" work report next time. In the meantime, don't ask.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I survived.

Well, I survived my first day of work. Barely. And not without a few tears. But so long as people stop asking me about my children and everyone else in the general public keeps their children at home so that I don't have to see kids at all, I will be ok. It is kind of a shame that these first 3ish weeks are long hours and almost complete communication deprivation - because it is definitely not easing me in to work full time. But I have a lot of hope that once this "training" is over and I'm actually doing substantive work (next week), I'll find it all a lot more enjoyable.

This is going to be a short entry because I'm exhausted, but I do have two quick stories that I don't want to forget.

First, Charlotte, as I have mentioned before, is a determined little booger. The other day, after we had lunch with Heather, I hear some munching going on in the back seat. I look back and see that she's chewing on her shoe. I'm sure my mother wouldn't be pleased with me, but I decided to let her just keep chewing because, well, I knew that taking it away from her would create a heck of a tantrum. A few minutes later, though, I look back and she's clearly chewing on something and its not her shoe. So I take a look at the shoe in question and she has actually removed a chunk from the toe. I take off the shoe.

Chewing noises continue. I look in the back and she has chewed a hole in her sock and is pulling strings out of it. So I took off the sock. And look back 30 seconds later and she is chewing on her toe. Determined.

And a very short one about Elisabeth. She is well mannered. So well mannered in fact that she even remembers her manners during nightmares. Lately she's been talking in her sleep every few nights. Usually I'm too out of it to know what she's saying, but let's just say the last few nights I have not been sleeping. So last night, she wakes up and hollers something that is mostly just jabber. Then she cries out. And says, "I said NO THANK YOU. I ssaaaaaid NO THAAAAANK YOU!" I had a little chuckle thinking about what she might be dreaming about. What her nightmares are about. My best guess is that it is evil mommy trying to get her to eat something with herbs on it.

So, tomorrow is day 2. I decided at the outset that the only way I can get through this time is to take it a day at a time. Tomorrow will be a day about like today. Lots of lectures, out by 4ish.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

pediatrician, lying, and the winds of change

Little Miss Charlotte had the fabulous experience of going to the pediatrician for her 12 month checkup on Monday. She's still in the 5th percentile for both weight and height, a little peanut. She also got jabbed by 3 needles. She's pretty resilient though, no real effects yet - although I guess its the 7-10 days post shot time frame that causes the fever. She didn't show off any of her tricks for the doctor, though. She was much too busy being absolutely furious with us for bringing her there.

If someone can explain to me why, when we have approximately 42,317 toys in the living room alone, both children need to play with the same exact toy, I'd be forever grateful. It is enough to drive me insane in half of a second. Even if we have two things exactly the same in every appreciable way - they have to both have the same one. I'm torn between refereeing it and letting them sort it out for themselves. On the one hand, Charlotte is much smaller than Elisabeth. But on the other hand is a big fat bite mark.

We've entered into the "lying phase" with Elisabeth. It is tough. "

Me: Did you just jump off of the couch like a Chinese gymnast? (she's about the same age...)
E: No.
Me: Elisabeth, are you lying to me?
E (with coy smile): no.....
Me: I have secret video cameras hidden all around and I can go review the tapes. Now did you jump off of the couch?
E: I don't want to tell you. (translated: yes)
Me: I don't like it when you lie to me. You'll get in less trouble for jumping off of the couch if you tell me the truth than if you lie to me about it. Because, like I said before, I'll find out.
E (head hanging low): I jumped off of the couch.
Me: did you at least stick the landing? Because if you're going to win us a gold medal, you need to start sticking the landings. You know, little children in China don't have enough to eat. Plus, they ship them off to state run training centers so they can win gold medals. Those children stick their landings...

In all seriousness, I have read lots of things on this lying phase. They all, strangely, say not to punish your preschoolers for lying to you at this age because it is natural and because they don't get it. So I've been trying to teach her that lying is bad. We don't like it. Explaining lying to a kid is tough, especially when you're parents who tend to joke around with your kid a lot. The difference between "just kidding" and "lying" is a fine one. But I also think she does understand it, so she loses movie privileges and sometimes dessert (depending on the egregiousness of the crime, I'm in the process of developing sentencing guidelines) for lying to me.

In other news, I start my new job on Monday. I can barely talk about it without getting weepy. But at the same time, I'm very ready for a change. I feel like I've lost my mojo as a stay at home mom, which is perhaps the fault of summer and a lack of a consistent routine. Routine, to me, is critical. So while I'm really looking forward to the job, I'm absolutely ripped up inside about not being home with my girls all the time. But, I think some Daddy time will be good for them. He has fresh legs and a different approach. They can experience something other than a dictatorship for awhile.

On that very happy note, we're off to the mall for my least favorite thing on Earth - panty hose. I hate them with the fire of a thousand suns, but apparently they are a part of formal business attire. Blech. Men should have to wear them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Overheard...

Elisabeth is uncharacteristically playing by herself with one of Charlotte's birthday presents: the Little People Birthday Set. Here's what I just heard:

"Michael, you can sit wherever you want. No, no, I said wherever. Not whatever. I didn't say ugh... whatever. I said wherever. That's nice. I didn't say (puts on gruff voice) ugh...... whatever!"

And you people thought ugh... forever had gone by the wayside. Not so much!

I love love love it when she plays with the Little People (which is once in a blue moon). Hearing her have conversations with them is priceless. Apparently it is all of the little people's birthdays today, all except for one, who is the visitor. And she has a cupcake. You can hear what she must hear us saying day in and day out. An example:

"Maggie (not dog Maggie, little person Maggie) you have to sleep. It will be hard for you to sleep though because you had two glasses of lemonade. But if you don't go to sleep, no cake for you."

Sometimes I feel like a mean mommy when I hear her doing things like that, but then she'll make me feel better by saying something like: "here's a special treat for you because you're such a good good girl," which I KNOW she hears from me. So her life can't be all commands all the time.