Friday, February 29, 2008

Watching movies with Elisabeth

So, I made the (perhaps regrettable) promise to Elisabeth that when I was done taking the bar, we'd watch all of her movies together. Yesterday was glorious. She was sick and I popped in Snow White and she fell asleep on the couch about 15 minutes in to the movie. It marked the first time she has (1) ever fallen asleep on the couch and (2) napped since August (except for on car trips where she often naps). It was so thrilling that I took a picture.




You might think I'm callous for enjoying my kid's sickness, but I'm not enjoying that she's sick as much as enjoying having the down time. Even with a 100+ fever, she wears me out in about 30 minutes. Plus, how often do you get to see chaos at rest?

Today, however, I got no such down time. Watching movies with Elisabeth is not quite as fun as it sounds. You know that scene in Jerry Maguire when that kid asks Jerry all of the questions? "Did you know the human head weighs 7 pounds?" Well, Elisabeth puts that kid to shame. I clocked her at an average of 4 questions a minute. Here's how Cars went today:

E: Mommy who is that?

Me: the race car, Lightning McQueen

E: Mommy why is he a race car?

Me: Why are you a little girl? he just IS a race car.

E: Mommy, wait he's not falling apart, why you said he's falling apart?

Me: no, thats another red car. Lightning is falling apart, see?

E: Mommy, that car is red tooooo!

E: Mommy, which one is Lightning The Queen?

Me: The one without the wheels.

E: Mommy, why they call him a Queen? Queens are girls, he's not a girl.

Me: no, its McQueen. Lightning McQueen.

E: mmmm aaaaa queen. maqueen? I said it?

E: Mommy, who are those other cars?

Me: the other race cars
E: Mommy, why he's not being nice?

Me: he's being conceited

E: what's conceited?

Me: did you not hear me when I said it was QUIET TIME?

And that took us through the second minute of the movie.
The highlight of the movie, for her, was seeing the signs in the movie for Route 66. I-66 here in the DC area is her favorite road because there are metro trains on it. She hollers out from the back whenever we see signs for 66. So to have 66 in the movie was a huge excitement for her.

Another promise I made to her regarding post bar exam activities is to actually take her on a metro train. That will be a very fun outing. We're going to the museum.

The Elizabeth River

The Elizabeth River was across the street from our Norfolk hotel. There is a ferry boat that goes back and forth across the river. Doug took the girls on the ferry boat while I took the essay portion of the exam on Tuesday morning. This led to a couple of cute Elisabeth-isms. First, she learned that some Elisabeth's are Elizabeth's. I got to hear all about it in the car. "Elisssssssssssssabeth, that's me, with an ssssssssss. Elizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzabeth has a z. I have an s. Elissssssssssssssssabeth. Not a z. Elizzzzzzzzzabeth." etc.

The funnier thing was that she was royally unhappy that it was called a "fairy boat." "I'm a princess, not a fairy... Why it's called a fairy boat?"

The Elizabeth River should have princess boats, not fairy boats. Stupid city planners.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

How last night went...

Imagine a reporter from the sidelines of the Super Bowl, talking to me:

Pam Oliver: "So Erica, you've just completed the bar exam. What are you going to do next?"
Erica: "Well, Pam, I'm going to Disney Wor...."
Elisabeth, at 2am: "mommmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy"
Erica: "scratch that, I'll be spending the next 24-36 hours puking and dealing with a puking 3 yr old."

Within four hours of entering our home, both Elisabeth and I got sick. She went through four shirts, at least one pair of pants, and two sets of bed sheets. It was a long night. But who said I was really looking forward to Thursday February 28, when Elisabeth would be at preschool and Charlotte would nap and I would sit on my rump and watch bad television while eating bon bons and doritos?

Today, Elisabeth seems fine except that she's not hungry. I'm still nauseous, but I've been able to eat a bit. Charlotte doesn't have it yet, neither does Doug thankfully. He really doesn't deserve it. The rest of us probably had it coming for how crazy we've driven him. Charlotte also did not nap, though, so my grand plan was fully and completely destroyed. Not a single bon bon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

whew. its over!

Whew, we're home. The second day was ok. I hate multiple choice, so it is hard to be thrilled with the day - but it is over. And now we wait. Waiting is not so much fun.

Our trip was fun, bar exam aside. We got to see some of the beautiful Virginia countryside - we took small roads for most of the trip down to Norfolk. Norfolk, by the way, is a pit. It rivals only Newark, NJ for pit of the universe. Luckily the bar examiners did not think it necessary for us to leave the building, so I only got to soak in the views of the projects from our car windows.

Elisabeth entertained us on the way home by telling us what she's going to be when she grows up. First, she's going to be a mommy. Then, she's going to be a daddy. Then, she'll be a Gram, and then a Grandmommy. Oh, and she wants to be a fisherman. And drive a tugboat. And then, she's going to deliver pizzas, so she can have a sign on top of the car. And she knows how it works, first the people will give her their money and then she'll give them the pizza. And she also thinks she might want to drive an ambulance, but we didn't get to flesh out the logistics on that one because she saw a Chick-fil-a and started yammering about that. We have more Elisabeth funnies from the past few days. She's been in true Elisabeth form. I'll type them up over the next few days.

Charlotte started babbling while we were away. Exactly one week after we told the pediatrician she didn't babble yet.

The highlight of Elisabeth's trip was the arcade at Jillians, where she and Doug and Charlotte spent several hours. After something like 20 attempts, she finally managed to get the skiball into a basket. And someone there gave her 150 tickets, so she got a Mickey Mouse Pez dispenser. I'm pretty sure she's never had anything as exciting as a Mickey Mouse toy that dispenses candy.

Doug is a true saint for his efforts over the past couple of days. Not only is taking care of two kids (our two kids anyway) a heroic effort, but he took care of them in a hotel. Sure fire way to rile up Elisabeth is to put her in a hotel room. And then, today, the hotel kicked them all out at 11am - so he had to make it from 11am until 5pm with just the loaded down stroller. He looked a little bit like a bag lady pushing a shopping cart. It was so wonderful having them all there with me.

Thanks for everyone's well wishes over the past few months. It means a lot to know that I have such great friends and family. Let's hope that we're not doing this again come July!

halfway there!

I'm halfway through the exam. Yesterday was the harder part, in my opinion. All essays. And, I think I did ok. But I'm not allowing myself to look up answers so for all I know I rambled on and on about the wrong things. Today is just multiple choice and although I'm awful at multiple choice, its easier to prepare for.

The girls are doing well in the hotel, they certainly wore Doug out yesterday. Charlotte won't take a bottle, she loves her mommy. And Elisabeth is acting like all she's eaten is sugar for three days, she's crazy. But she said the cutest thing to me yesterday morning before I left. She said, and I quote:
"Mommy, you'll get all of the answers right. You studied studied studied. When Melissa took the exam, she been nervous. But she passed. And then she got to play with Sam! And you will get to play with me!"

The second bit about my friend Melissa is something that Doug told Elisabeth the night before. But she got the whole "you'll get all of the answers right" business out of her own head. Very sweet. She alllllmost made her mommy get teary eyed.

We'll be travelling home right after the exam. And then, as Elisabeth said, I'll get to play with her. And boy does she ever have a list of things we're going to do...

Monday, February 25, 2008

radio silence

We're off to Norfolk this morning. We have everything packed. You know how all of those home sale shows on HGTV tell you to declutter before you sell your house? It turns out all you really have to do is take your kids to a hotel for a few days and all of the junk ends up packed to come with you. But, we will want not! And this time, we get to bring my clothes too! No early morning run to Target for a business suit, not this time...

Two days of exam - Tuesday and Wednesday. Then we'll pack everyone back in the car and get home late Wednesday night. Think good thoughts for me, and well - for Doug too. I don't envy him with two girls in a hotel with nothing really to do. I'm very glad to have my fan club with me, though.

See you on the flip side!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The end is imminent

The bar exam rapidly approaches. I feel a sense of impending doom and exhilaration. We'll be gone Monday through late Wednesday night. Elisabeth wants to "watch me take the bar" and "see me do flips on it." She is most excited for the trip because she has a license to watch videos for four straight hours on the way down there.

Yesterday, Elisabeth drew a smiley face. Someone who didn't know what they were looking for might even look at it and say it is a smiley face. Then she drew some other body parts. Her first choice? A bottom. Perhaps we ask her about her bathrooming habits too frequently?

That's it. I don't have anything interesting to say. My brain is too full of mostly useless tidbits of law. So unless anyone is interested in what a plaintiff must prove to get an injunction for private nuisance, I will sign off. You know how they have colon cleansing rituals and products? I'm going to need a brain cleansing on Thursday so that I can remember things such as my kids' names.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

you know you've had a toddler when...

You know you've had a toddler when your dog isn't cooperating and without even thinking of what you're doing you say, calmly, "Maggie - that's one." Needless to say, this did not cause Maggie to cooperate.

I have to admit, having a toddler/preschooler - while initially detrimental to my health - has probably in the end been good for me. Now, even when my initial reaction is to scream, I calmly say "that's one" - apparently to anyone around. Maybe 1-2-3 is good for everyone.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Crown

As promised, pictures of the crown (as it is now called). She said she wants to wear it "forever and ever until tonight." As a bonus for those of you who have been kind enough to read my endless babble on the subject, a video of Elisabeth - in the crown - singing "Where is Thumbkin," with the lesser known second verse 'Where is Santa." The video is kind of long (a minute and a half) but really funny - at least in the eyes of her completely objective parents.



video

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On why I should not be allowed to own a glue gun.

I knew that trip to Michaels would not go as easily as it might for say, oh, anyone else. First, Elisabeth decided this morning that she didn't want to go to Michaels. She already had a headband and didn't want anymore. You might think I would have jumped up and clicked my heels upon hearing this news, but I'm not that dumb. It would be just like the time we drove through Wendy's and she said she didn't want anything. So she didn't get anything. And then cried for a long tim about it. She is a little woman, after all. So when I picked her up from preschool, I asked her if she had changed her mind about making the headband and indeed she had. So off we went. First to CVS to purchase a headband and then to Michaels for the ecoutremants.

Let me set the scene. Elisabeth is jumping with every step, hyped up on whatever it is they fed her at preschool. Charlotte, on the other hand, is screeeeeaming - strapped into the shopping cart. And I asked where I might find the ribbon and the nice lady pointed me to the ribbon aisle. AISLE. Lindsay tells me there is an entire ribbon store in New York City. I have no doubt that an entire ribbon store would drive me quickly to illegal narcotics. Anyway - we started at one end and looked in the blue ribbon section, since that's her favorite color. When she found the one she eventually went with, she squealed with delight - which made the entire trip worth it. Even the other ladies in the ribbon aisle (who knew there was such a demand for ribbon...) looked up and smiled. So by then we had a headband and ribbon. We still needed flowers. Luckily we happened to walk down the wedding supply aisle and found perfect yellow and blue flowers.

I guess that I looked a little befuddled. With a shocking ability to read my mind, another Michael's helper lady said, "you know, you shouldn't use regular glue if you're planning on sticking those flowers to that ribbon." So she directed me to the glue gun aisle. Again -an aisle. Full of glue guns. So I found a cheap glue gun and set off to find ammo for it. There were bins full of bags. I made sure I got the regular sized ammo to go with the regular sized (i.e. not mini) gun.

So imagine my surprise when I got Elisabeth home and excited to make the headband and found out that some evil little Michael's helper had swapped the bag that I clearly picked up full of regular sized glue gun ammo and replaced it with mini glue gun sticks. What to do. I tried shoving the glue stick in anyway and shoved it down with a ball point pen. Bad plan, glue just came flying out the back and the pen is no longer usable. So I thought if I put enough mini glue sticks in that the rest of the gun would fill up with glue and eventually I could get the 5 drops of glue out that I needed. Let's just say that (a) glue guns are hot; (b) they can seemingly eat an endless supply of glue sticks; and (c) this glue gun in particular had a short lived career (5 mins tops). (I've been trying to come up with a joke here about how old horses go to make glue, where do old glue guns go? But the Bar Examiners have removed my sense of humor)

Elisabeth was very supportive throughout the glue ordeal:

"It's ok Mommy, we'll just go back to Michaels."
"It's ok Mommy, it doesn't need glue. Let's just read a book."
"It's ok Mommy, just call - she can help." (and, I did make one of those calls)

So finally we sit down with the Elmer's glue and wrapped the headband with the pretty blue ribbon. She was pretty happy with how it looked. Then Doug came home with cookie mix and within twenty seconds she had the refrigerator open, an egg out of the carton, the chair drug over to the counter, a spoon, and a bowl out saying "ok daddy, let's make cookies." "But, don't you want to help Mommy make your headband?" "No, I changed my mind - I can just watch from here."

You can see where I rank.

The headband, after all of this is nearly finished. It is "drying" and then I will take some pictures so you can all see my accomplishment. What I thought would take me 15 mins has so far taken me 2 hrs. What I thought would cost $5 has cost, well let's just say significantly more. But I have enough ribbon and glue and flowers to outfit the rest of our neighborhood with frilly headbands. I am definitely regretting my decision to throw out the last headband instead of at least try to clean it off...

(who would have thought I could write this prolifically on a trip to Michaels?)

Monday, February 18, 2008

one week accident free!

As of about 5pm last night, we've been "accident" free in this house for an entire week! Now I owe Elisabeth a trip to Michaels to get a new headband. See, a few weeks ago, Elisabeth had an "accident" in the playroom. I was maaaaad because she went and hid to do it, which meant she clearly could have gone to the potty. As I was cleaning it up, I discovered she had peed a headband that she had been given. The headband had long ribbons streaming off of it. If anyone thinks that I'm the type of person to clean pee off of ribbons, you clearly don't know me very well. And I'm even unlikelier to do it when I'm angry in the first place. So I threw the headband in the trash. I wasn't trying to be mean, but the headband needed to go. Oh that broke her heart. She cried. And cried. A broken hearted sob. And I felt bad. To make us both feel better I told her if she made it one week, we'd go to Michaels and buy ribbon and make a new one. So we put a little star on the calendar to mark the day we could go. Of course we had to put new little stars up every so often as she had more accidents. I was pretty sure that if she ever actually earned the trip to Michaels, we could combine it with a big shopping trip to buy her necessities for going off to college. Alas, she proved me wrong. So we will go to Michaels tomorrow.

I am a lost cause in Michaels. I hate crafts (except knitting). I'm not good at them. One day maybe my mother will haul out the "doll" I attempted to sew at some point. It will haunt you in your darkest nightmares. So you can pretty much bet your pretty little head that whatever "headband" we concoct will be picture worthy.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"my bottom is not cooperating"

This morning, as Elisabeth squirmed strangely in a chair, Doug asked her what she was doing.
"My bottom not cooperating. The peepee tryin' to come out before I'm ready, and the poop been tryin to come out before I get to the potty."

Friday, February 15, 2008

absentee parenting and cat puke

I have been an absent parent lately, thanks to the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners. Because of this, I haven't had many interesting or funny Elisabeth stories. However, a mere one hour lunch with her generated a few funnies.

First, my daughter is a bit obsessed with cat and dog puke. Lucky for her (and definitely unlucky for me), one of our cats is a prolific puker. Doug made the mistake of saying "oh, look, I think there's cat puke over here..." This is like a bell going off in a firehouse for Elisabeth. "Elisabeth to the rescue!" (which is incidentally her response whenever she says that we have a 'fredicament' as she calls it...). She went and carefully examined the puke, then complained that she can't use the spray to clean it up, making herself feel better with the knowledge that when she's a daddy she can.

Five minutes later, she saw a spot on the carpet. "Uh oh, Daddy, more cat puke." Doug went to examine and said, "I don't think its cat puke..." To which she responded, "oh, maybe it is chicken." Indeed, the offensive spot was chicken. Before we had kids, finding chicken in the middle of the living room floor would have been remarkable. Now - not so much. She followed it up with "I know how it got there, daddy. It been in my bib." Mystery solved. The outstanding mystery, though, is why Maggie hadn't eaten it - maybe the dog's off her game.

And finally, a puke related story demonstrating Elisabeth's reasoning abilities. In an attempt to determine whose puke it actually was, I said that it must be Maggie's because it wasn't there when I put the cat on the porch. Elisabeth went over and confirmed that it was, in fact, Maggie's. "How do you know?" Doug asked. She replied, "It's yellow. Maggie pukes yellow." What color is cat puke, you might ask? "Brown."

The milestone charts say that three year olds should be able to identify something like 5 colors, which is just absurdly low I think. I don't know a single 3 year old that only knows 5 colors. Elisabeth can not only identify many more colors than that, she can do it in Spanish, and use her knowledge of colors to identify bodily fluids from our pets.

10 more days until the studying is over, then two more days and the exam will be over. I can't wait. We have many fun things planned for after the bar, including a metro train ride and a trip to the Reston Zoo where with any luck a baby goat will not fall on Elisabeth's head again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Practical advice for unsentimental parents

Preschoolers generate a lot of art projects. Elisabeth comes home every day with at least one, if not two or three projects. They come in three categories: things glued onto construction paper (where things equals cutout shapes, glitter, or foam pieces), some kind of paint on some kind of paper (finger on construction, water on white, etc), or the occasional three dimensional structure inevitably consisting of a toilet paper tube. Elisabeth is always so proud to show me her art projects, she usually insists upon stopping in the middle of the hallway to dig them out and display them to all of the other waiting parets. Given my extreme dislike of clogging the hallway, this drives me a little bonkers.

So I manage to get Elisabeth, her bag, Charlotte, and the 1-3 art projects (that have by this point been scattered down the hallway) to the larger space by the door where I proceed to "oooooooh" and "aaaaawe" over them. My mother told me never to ask what a painting is because it will offend the kid who very clearly sees a family portrait amongst the modernistic Jackson Pollock-esque drawing. So, instead, I ask her to tell me about it. She typically says something like this: "its paint, mommy. I used a brush. I wanted red, but Nicole had the red and Nicole doesn't share so its orange." I'm very relieved to find out that Elisabeth has my artistic sense and skills.

But what do you do with these art projects? At 1-3/day, that is about 8-24 projects a month. Throwing them away, at least while she is conscious of their existence, seems rather cold hearted even to me. I thought about mailing them in batches to her various grandparents, but I've figured out that she's too smart for that and will proceed to ask the grandparents exactly where these masterpieces were hanging. It has been a constant battle since September, with piles of art projects cluttering our otherwise pristine countertops (hey, stop laughing). Oh as an aside, the inventer of glitter and confetti-like things clearly did not have children, and should be taken out and immediately relieved of his duty to breathe. Anyway - we have discovered the solution to the overwhelming mountain of preschool art!

Scissors. Santa gave Elisabeth scissors for Christmas. She's not allowed to cut anything without asking. One day she asked if she could cut her art project from school that day. Hesitantly (I now wonder why I even hesitated), I said yes. Brilliant! Now, instead of trying to cut important letters from the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, she goes to town on her art projects. Once they're cut into miniscule pieces, I don't feel bad at all about sweeping them into the trash. This morning, she took care of yesterday's birthday hat, her birthday baloon (construction paper), and her finger painting. I'm considering renting her out as a paper shredder, any takers?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Terrible twos? check. Terrific threes here we come!

Elisabeth turned three today, and true to our word, she got her books back. At "quiet" time, we presented her with all of the books that had been living in our room for the past 8 months or so. She was thrilled. We were thrilled.

After about an hour, I peeked in to check on her because it was unusually quiet. She had her books spread all over the floor, and was playing Twister. Then about half an hour later, I peeked back in and much to my horror there was a page from a book sitting in the middle of the floor. My entire body tensed up, but as part of my "try not to yell at Elisabeth on her birthday" plan, I remained outwardly calm. I went over to the book and said, "did you rip another book?" She looked at me like I was nuts and said, "no. I'm three, I don't rip books anymore." Much to my glee, I realized that the page was in fact a page that had already been ripped out. It was from a prior ripping that resulted in the booknapping. So far, so good. One day down.

Among the returned books are the two Shel Silverstein books: Where the Sidewalk Ends, and A Light in the Attic. I should warn fellow parents about a poem in A Light in the Attic. It is one of Elisabeth's favorites. It taught me a very important parenting lesson: read stories and poems quietly to yourself before reading them to your kids. There is a poem about a little girl named Abigail. It is now one of Elisabeth's favorites. Abigail wants a pony really, really badly. She says that if she doesn't get this pony, she'll just die. Her parents say, "no, you won't. No one ever died from not getting a pony." And you know what? I bet you do.... Yep, little Abigail dies. She dies because she was so sad from not getting a pony. Thanks, Shel.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

good for the gosling, good for the gander

A few mornings ago, Doug was trying to get Elisabeth to go to the potty before school. As per her usual, she protested. She began lobbying to go once they got to preschool. This is a royal pain because there are throngs of small people hyped up on sugary cereals all trying to make their way to the classrooms, so pitstops for potty breaks are not advised.*

Doug told her, "the preschool rules say to please make sure your child goes to the bathroom before coming to preschool" (they don't really say this). She replied, "Where they say that, Daddy? on the sign at preschool?" He said, "no... in the book that they sent us from preschool." Then a few minutes later, when he went to the bathroom before leaving to take her to school, she told him, "The book from your work says 'Please make sure your daddy goes to the bathroom before coming to work.'"

Words to live by.

* I will never, EVER understand why mothers feel it is necessary to wheel their enormous strollers into preschool to drop off their kids. The halls are wide enough for two preschoolers to pass each other and grab each other's ponytails. It is not wide enough for your Bugaboo, let alone your Bugaboo plus 30 parents and children -- especially while you stand there yapping. Take your kid out of the stroller and, horror of horrors, actually hold them.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Elisabeth conversation outtakes....

Doug: Elisabeth, if we go outside to play, I don't want you to go pee pee in your pants. I don't want you to get distracted by playing.
E: Why you don't want me to go pee pee in my pants?
Doug: Because I'll be very disappointed.
E: Mommy didn't get disappointed when I pee peed on the carpet.
Doug: She didn't?
E: No, she been aaaaaaangry.

-------------------------------------
(Charlotte falls over while sitting up on the floor)

E: It's ok, Daddy. Don't worry. Falling over is ok.
D: It's ok?
E: Yes.
D: What's not ok?
E: (thinking...) Cutting things without asking is not ok.
D: Is there anything else that's not ok?
E: (thinking some more...) yes. Going into Charlotte's room when she's sleeping is not ok.

------------------------------------

(The scene - Elisabeth being a pain about letting me wash her hair)
Me: Elisabeth, if you don't sit still and let me wash your hair, I'll shave your head bald and the kids will point and laugh.
E: Why they point and laugh if I had no hair?
Me: You'd look funny without any hair.
E: (contemplating this) I wouldn't look funny! I'd look like granddaddy!

Doug had to very quickly leave the room so he could laugh.

Friday, February 8, 2008

checkmate.

JUST when you think you've got them, they pull out their super secret, stealthy move. Elisabeth had been getting up progressively earlier. When this hit 6am, we knew it had to stop. We got out our trusty Weissbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child), which suggested two things: earlier bed time and put a clock in her room and tell her she can't come out until a specified time. Brilliant. So, 7pm we put her in bed with an alarm clock that we showed her how to read. We then engrained the numbers 7-0-0 into her head and after a few days it worked like a charm. She gave up trying to wake up so early because she realized she was stuck in her room. There was some amount of bliss in our house (but let's face it, we still had to wake up with Charlotte). This worked for a month. Then the scheming little beast hatched her most recent plan that has me stymied. At 6:30 the past two mornings we've woken up to a whisper, combined with the dragging of a stool to the light in our bathroom, "I just have to pee. Don't worry, I just have to go potty." What do you do here??

Options:
1. get up and help her go to the potty.
2. holler at her and make her go back to bed.

Doug handled yesterday's bathroom wakeup, and I handled this mornings. Bonus points to anyone who can guess before reading the next sentence how the respective mornings were handled. Yesterday morning, Doug got up with her and helped her go potty. He's so nice and patient.

This morning, Doug was already up with Charlotte when Elisabeth had the misfortune of waking me up to go to the bathroom. Sensing a pattern and realizing she was using this as a way to manipulate me into letting her get up before 7-0-0, I promptly sent her to find her already awake Daddy. Off she went. A few minutes later, I heard the disharmonious clanging of a piano being played by a three year old. Realizing that I sent her downstairs and that Doug was not down there, I got up and came downstairs and hollered at her and sent her back to her room in tears.

What do you do in this situation? I obviously don't like the idea that I'm telling her she can't go to the bathroom, especially while we are in a precariously potty trained position, but at the same time I don't like her using the potty as a way of getting out of bedtime. You can see it in her eyes, she's laughing inside and saying "GOTCHA!"

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Doctor, I think I have a lion in my stomach

One of Elisabeth's favorite games is doctor. She received a doctor's kit from her cousins for Christmas, and we have at least an entire zoo worth of Fisher Price plastic animals. One game is to give the kids who come to play shots, chasing them around while the poor kids almost cry because they want her to leave them alone. There is also the great taking of the temperatures game. You can guess where that thermometer goes. But her favorite game involves her parents as patients, and Elisabeth as the doctor (we have banned the thermometer from this game, you'll be glad to know...) The way the game goes, as per the Boss, is this:

Me (with a Little People camel tucked under my shirt, wailing in pain and clutching my abdomen, ready for my Academy Award): OHHH Doctor, it hurts - it hurts so bad, I think it must be something really bad.

E: Its ok. I think its just a giraffe. Let me listen to you. (she puts the "stellascope" over where the camel is and presses its little button to make a heartbeat noise and then presses it again to make the coughing noise). Yes, yes, it is a giraffe. He has a cough.

Me (earning major brownie points by coughing loudly and continuing to moan in pain): Do you think you can fix it, Doctor?

E: yes, but you have to be quiet. I'll go get my pinchers. it will all be ok. It is just a giraffe.

E: (gets the "pinchers" aka grabby things doctors use to hold onto stuff and proceeds to work diligently to get the offending animal out, all the while I'm screaming in pain only some of which is fake - those pinchers can hurt!!!)

E: Its a camel, its not a giraffe, you been kidding!!! Mommy, your tummy hurt because you had a camel in it. You should feel better now.

Me: thanks Doctor, I do feel better.

E: can we play again? Put this zebra under your shirt.

repeat 20 times until your stomach actually does hurt and your wondering if the doc left a lap pad, or perhaps a plastic lion in there when you weren't looking.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

diet poop.

A few months ago, we watched our neighbor's great dane, named Georgia. She slept at their house and we walked, fed and loved on her. Well, she got diarrhea. Lots and lots of diarrhea. Fast forward to this morning. Elisabeth and Doug were walking Georgia and Maggie. Doug said that Georgia needed to poop before they got back home.
E: "Why daddy? So she doesn't have diet poop?"
D: "Diet what?"
E: "Diet poop, like she had that one time."
D: ...thinks for awhile... "oh, do you mean diarrhea?"
E: "Yes. Diarrhea. Thats what I mean."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

just when they're on the edge of being disowned...

they do something cute. After the pee pee incident (see post from earlier today), Elisabeth and I were on the outs. During "quiet time" (the same person who coined "sleeps like a baby" coined this term too) I heard Elisabeth run to the bathroom. The clod clod clod of little feet (pitter patter - ha). I go sprinting upstairs expecting the worst. Elisabeth is on the potty, and she says, "I'm going pee pee on the potty. Are you so happy??" After expressing my sheer joy (at not having to clean another carpet), I asked her if she felt it coming and ran to the potty. She said, and I quote, "yes, mommy. I been sittin in my room watchin Snow White when I felt the pee pee comin out. So I run run in here and go pee pee. It been a predicament." Predicament?? I don't even use that word in casual conversations. So she melted my tough exterior with her humor.

Then, Charlotte woke up. And she screamed. And screamed. And then when she was done, she screamed some more. This is so very unlike Charlotte, so I am blaming the evil teeth monster. She hasnt slept well this week, and is just really unhappy today. However. I am studying for the bar. I rely (apparently to my detriment) on nap times. So I tried to listen to the last of my Bar/Bri lecture with Charlotte on my lap. Screaming. Which is incredibly frustrating. So when Elisabeth came to the top of the stairs hollering something that sounded like hot, or out, or cart - I just yelled back "I don't care, go to your room, it is NOT 3-0-0 yet, so don't come back until it is." Add this to my resume for my application for Mommy of the Year. Being the good little girl she is (she is always good after getting in trouble) she went back to her room and I did not hear another peep out of her until 3-0-0. I went up to get her and she said, "Mommy, come see the hawk!"

You need a little background to understand. I LOVE my wild birds (that eat at my bird feeders). I feel like they're my little pets. Hawks also love my little birds, and we've actually seen a few of my bird feeder birds get devoured by hawks on our deck. So I hate the hawks. Except that I love them. They're so pretty, and big, and have these huge talons, and walk on the ground like chickens. Apparently 80% of juvenile hawks die each winter because they can't get enough to eat. So I try to console myself that it is all part of nature's cycle. Anyway, we often have hawks on the fence in the back yard, or on the bird house back there. And I love to watch them. Apparently I have instilled this love in my child.

She took me to her window to show me where the hawk was. (oh, hawk is what she was hollering at the top of the stairs, not hot, or cart - it is hard to understand her with screaming Charlotte on your lap) The hawk had gone on by that point, but she said, "the hawk came to have quiet time with me. He sat out there being quiet. Waiting for his hawk friends. He waited with me." I'm really glad she has a love of nature, and enjoys looking out her window at the birds and foxes. As much as I gripe about her potty training, I have a pretty darned great kid.

"accidents"

Right now, there is no word that I hate more than "accident." Elisabeth just peed all over the floor. I asked why she did it, and she said it was an "accident." Accident my left foot. She "accidentally" wanted to play with her barn more than she wanted to go to the potty. I'm definitely the parent they describe in the "don't do this" section of most parenting books, especially on potty training. I yell. I threaten diapers. I tell her she'll have to wear diapers to school for the rest of her life, and kids will point and laugh. I refuse to say "its ok, sweetie, it was an accident." It wasn't an accident. It was a choice, and a bad choice, and I don't believe in cushy parenting for bad choices. So bring it, parenting book authors. Come on over and get your fodder for what not to do.

So, she cried - which just made me angrier. Why are you crying??? "I just want a hug." So not only does she make me really angry by peeing on the floor, she makes me feel like an awful mommy who won't hug her own child. But, she still didn't get a hug out of me. She is such a little dramatist that when I said "go play in the other room, mommy needs a break from you," she scampered off happily - so clearly not heartbroken over not getting a hug.

I'm honestly beginning to wonder if Charlotte will beat Elisabeth in the great potty training race. Or perhaps my standard is too high - expecting Elisabeth not to have accidents anymore. Oh, right, maybe I should expect accidents, but I refuse to accept "accidents."

oh, Elisabeth recently decided she likes ice cream. Doug told her that she can't have ice cream every day, that some days are ice cream days and some arent. Her reply: "I have a deal for you. I know when ice cream days are. Ice cream days are days when I ask for ice cream. Days when I don't ask for ice cream aren't ice cream days. Is that a deal?" Future politician, I'm telling you.

Monday, February 4, 2008

kiddie politics

As I perused cnn.com, I saw a link that said "is your child a Weepublican or a Demoquat?" I desperately hoped to find a quiz that parents could take about their kids behavior that would indicate whether I had a little Hillary or a little Ann Coulter (good grief, what a Hobson's choice). Sadly it was a fluff piece about parents who make their kids wear shirts that say "My mom stumps for Obama." Or a family of 10 kids with shirts that read, "Go Catholic or go home." Anyway, NOT what I was looking for. But wouldn't it be funny? I think that their little traits at this age have to indicate something!!

1. At the dinner table, your child is most likely to:
A. Tell you she doesn't want any dinner, then proceed to eat everything off of your plate telling you each time you complain (while stroking your hair with her nasty beef stew covered fingers), "its ok, Mommy, we can share."
B. Tell you she wants Fruit Loops for dinner, then protest wildly when you tell her Fruit Loops aren't dinner food and proceed to starve herself out of principal.
C. What? My child doesn't even come to the dinner table because that requires not running around and around and around.
D. Take the plate of food she's offered and then break miniscule pieces off of everything and insist that you eat them.

(answer in my house is a resounding A, B, C, and D depending on the day of the week)

2. When playing with other children, your child:
A. runs the show. tells all other children exactly where to stand, when to move, and whether or not they're allowed to breathe.
B. cries when they have to play with children as described in A.
C. takes toys from the other kids.
D. puts a hurting on kids who take toys from other kids.

(in our house, it is A and D mostly - although Elisabeth hasn't ever hurt another kid, she just rats them out. everyone loves a tattle tale, I tell her).

3. When talking to herself in her room, your child mostly:
A. Talks to her dolls about who gets to eat next, whose diaper needs changing, etc.
B. Tells herself the most ridiculous knock knock jokes.
C. gives self affirmations, e.g. "sometimes I don't cooperate and mommy gets mad. but mommy stilllll loves me."
D. shreds her books (hmm, could be akin to book burning - see I KNEW this quiz could have political indicia)

(we've got B, C and D here. IF she talks to her dolls, it is ordering them around or telling them knock knock jokes - more on the jokes later).

I think someone should spend some time researching this. I believe, through my incredibly sophisticated algorithm, that the score I received taking this quiz for Elisabeth indicates that Elisabeth is a strong leader, bordering on dictator, who has a strong sense of property rights - yet will share if she is so inclined but Lord help the person who tries to make her do anything against her will. Maybe all kids are little libertarians.

As for the knock knock jokes. Elisabeth heard the one that goes:
Me: "Knock knock"
E: "Who's there?"
Me: "Boo."
E: "Boo hoo?"
Me: "Oh don't cry, its only a joke!"

she thought that was about the funniest thing she'd heard in a long time. Now she has invented lots of knock knock jokes. Today's goes like this:

E: "Mommy mommy - knock knock"
Me: "who's there?"
E: "ELMO!"
Me: "Elmo who?"
E: "uhmmmmmm..... Elmo....... ELEPHANT!!!!"
Me: "ha ha."
E: "Oh DON'T CRY mommy, it is only a joke!"

She is saying a lot of things lately that break my heart because they're so sweet. My parents were here for her early birthday celebration. Doug said to her that they might bring her presents. She said "oh! Presents!! maybe they'll bring one for Charlotte tooooo!" Then today, she said she was glad Charlotte was taking a nap. Doug asked her why, and she said because then Charlotte could grow big and play with her. Then "mommy and daddy will be so happy because they won't have to play with me." :(

Sunday, February 3, 2008

7-0-0

Elisabeth isn't allowed to get out of bed until the clock in her room reads 7-0-0. Sometimes, though, she wakes up at 6-1-5 and is forced to wait 45 minutes to come out. Often this just irritates me because I have to hear her making noise and then of course I'm not sleeping. But some mornings, like this morning, she babbles and talks and it is really funny to hear what she says. Some of this morning's gems:

"sometimes I don't cooperate and mommy gets angry. But mommy still loves me..."
(in a gruff voice) "rrrrawr rrrrrawr rrrrawr get in the car, hurry! rrrawr rrrrrawr rrrawr" (I don't know who talks to her like that...)

My parents were here this weekend to have an early birthday celebration with Elisabeth. Elisabeth has four distinct birthday celebrations planned. She's beyond excited about each of them. There's one with my parents, one with Doug's family, one at preschool, and one with the little girls in the neighborhood. Each (at least in her mind) has a different plan - some with cupcakes, some with cakes, some with birthday hats, some without. I suppose I might have to break down and throw her a birthday party next year. She just gets so excited over her birthday.

She is still letting people know that she gets her books back when she turns three. For those of you who don't know, about a year ago (after she turned two, but not too long after) - she started ripping her books in her room during quiet time. After about 6 of these incidents, I told her she couldn't have books in her room during quiet time anymore until she turned three. We still read to her, lots in fact. And, miraculously a few books have weaseled their way back into her room, and they haven't gotten ripped. Nonetheless, approximately 4 times a week since then, we've been out in public and the following conversation has ensued:

random stranger: "oh you're a cute little girl. how old are you?"
E: "2 and a half. But soon I'll be three. And then I get my books back."
stranger: "I'm sorry, you get your books back?"
E: "yes. mommy took them away. I can have them back when I'm three."
stranger: (disapproving and shocking look at me....)
Me: "yep - no books until she's three. only TV, and only Baywatch reruns at that."

Today I have to go take a practice multistate bar exam. 200 multiple choice questions written by the bar/bri folks. They must be mean spirited individuals, and that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Scalia and meatballs

Elisabeth is our little literalist. I have no doubt that if another Supreme Court justice resigns and/or dies during W's term in office, she is tops on his list as a replacement. An example that struck me yesterday is that her preschool teachers asked us about 4 months ago to send her in pullups. Elisabeth has taken this to mean that she is only allowed to wear pullups, not big girl underwear, to preschool. I asked her teacher to clarify her position yesterday because, unlike the Constitution, her teacher is living.

Another example, also from yesterday. We like to dance to her favorite songs. Charlotte thinks this is great fun. It is even MORE fun when Elisabeth jumps right next to Charlotte's head, but mommy put the kibosh on that pretty early on. But with each day, I issue the same warning when I put Charlotte down on the floor while we dance. "Don't dance around your sister's head." Yesterday I put Charlotte down while the music was blaring and said "I'm going to run to the bathroom, I'll be right back, don't dance around your sister's head." I came out to see Charlotte laughing hysterically while Elisabeth "danced" (read: jumped and flailed wildly) right next to Charlotte's head. Yelling ensued. A whimpering Elisabeth said a few minutes later, "But Mommy, I didn't dance around Charlotte's head, I danced next to Charlotte's head." She is a jurisprudence paper waiting to happen.

This entry typed while sitting in my bathtub, on a study break, while eating meatballs. I love that you people will never know if this is true or not.