Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I was stumped.
Finally, Doug said, "Away in a manger?" And she said, "YES! That's it! Jesus couldn't stay in the hospital so had to be born in a manger."
I am quite thankful he was there because otherwise, Elisabeth and I would still be at the dinner table arguing over which song it was.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I went to a farmer's market yesterday with Heather, and I brought home 6 ears of sweet corn. There is seriously nothing better than fresh picked sweet corn. Elisabeth agrees. She was very excited when I brought it home, and talked about it all day. "Mommy! We're going to have corn tonight. Corn on the hedge!" We corrected her a few times, but then we stopped. I'm pretty sure I prefer corn on the hedge to corn on the cob anyway.
It reminds me of the Amelia Bedelia story where Cousin Alcolu has to prune the hedges and he goes out and puts prunes on the hedges. I think we'll be eating corn on the hedge for a long time.
oh, and I mis-spelled how Elisabeth says freckle. Its not freeckle, its frinkle.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
This summer, we've done a lot more swimming and other outdoors activities than in summers past. We've learned that Elisabeth, brave as she is, becomes a big chicken when she might possibly get water splashed somewhere within 3 feet of her face. I feel sorry for her, because she seems genuinely petrified of getting water in her face.
Yesterday, I took her to a local water park where they have a big pool with lots of slides and they also have a "lazy river" type of thing where you can float around in a big tube or swim. Doug stayed home with Charlotte (who is sick with a summer cold!!!). I had previously thought I could handle the two girls, but I'm so glad I didn't try. Elisabeth requires both of my arms and all of my strength. Most of the kids Elisabeth's age wear life vests that they hand out for free there. The vest keeps her from sinking, but she has no faith of this fact so she clings to me for dear life. Two times she managed to let go of me and doggie paddle around. She was really proud of herself. But the lazy river was just about her greatest nightmare. We floated in a tube, her on my lap. And after 30 seconds we encountered the first of a few "water features" where they have buckets dumping water on your head. I thought she was going to have a panic attack right then and there. Needless to say, we got off of the lazy river at our first opportunity and went back to the safety of the 12 inch deep toddler pool.
Our neighbors were there also. They suggested I let Elisabeth wear goggles. She was thrilled with this. I am now worried she will want to wear goggles in the bathtub. Anyway, she calls them googles. I suppose this shouldn't be surprising since she has a very good understanding of what it means to "google something." But it is perhaps an interesting commentary on our life that our kid learns what googling something means before she learns about swim apparel.
All of this sun exposure has caused me to get more freckles. We showed our freckles to Elisabeth, who was fascinated with them. And ever since, she's been asking to see freeckles, which I think is one of the cutest mispronounciations she's had.
I'm curious to see if she demands googles at swim class tomorrow. If she does, she's out of luck. The only pair I have is useless, the rubber strap fell into about 32 pieces when I got them out last night after we got home. The good money is on Charlotte swimming before Elisabeth.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
"No... but" must precede 75% of the things Elisabeth says. Maybe this is an indication that I say not to do things too frequently, but when she's doing backflips off of the couch, feeding Charlotte things she's not supposed to be eating yet, touching daddy's computer with slimy hands, not going to the potty when it is very clear that she needs to - I have to tell her not to do these things. She's 3. She needs direction. Hearing "no, but" precede everything out of her mouth is killing me. I have a plan in place to cure her of this, involving timeouts and every other aresenal in my bag, but that usually takes a few weeks. I don't need to eliminate it. I just need to lessen it.
There are, however, things I can change. Elisabeth's other way of driving me nuts these days is chewing on her hair. Normally I wouldn't care. But I am the one who has to wrestle her daily to brush her hair and then weekly to wash it. Both of these tasks are daunting to say the least. The washing has crossed the line into abuse, I fear. Dumping water on her head while she screams bloody murder. Anyway, the chewing of the hair isn't helping. It makes her hair crunchy, ratty, and brittle. All of these things lead to tangles, which are my nemesis because then I have to hold her down and brush her hair. After her 53rd warning of the hour to stop chewing her hair, I carried through on my threat of cutting her hair right off.
She was thrilled with the idea. I was mostly thrilled with the idea. I got out the hair cutting stuff. Got her a stool and some books to prop her up on. Then I realized that I had no idea what I was doing. So after calling my mother and my neighbor, both of whom have raised little girls, and getting no answer from either of them, I consulted the oracle of oracles - google. A quick search for "how to cut hair" yielded a page showing how to do an angled bob. I quickly read what they had to say, and dove in with step one.
So after step 1, I had a panic attack. I had no clue what I was doing. None. I couldn't let her sense my insecurities, so I started trying to figure out where the nearest salon that might cut a 3 yr old's hair was. Then I decided that I had already started, I would finish and if it was that bad, I'd take her somewhere to have it fixed. I went back to consult my google find. Things got complicated here. There were words I didn't understand. It was obviously drafted for someone who had been through beauty school which I, most definitely, have not. So I begun to wing it. I mean, I've had my hair cut approximately 31 zillion times - see one, do one, teach one - right? I began by determining the length the front needed to be so that she couldn't chew on and worked backwards from there. She was really frustrated with me because it took so long. But I think, in the end, the results are good!
For a comparison, here's a picture I took of her at the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum on Friday (she's in a Cessna)
So, we still have the "no...but" situation, but the crunchy hair situation has been resolved with a little help from my friend Google. And did I mention that I did at least 75% of the haircut with Charlotte strapped to my back to keep her from screaming her head off? Fun times. Sadly, I can't threaten to physically remove too many things if they are the source of irritation for me. I'm pretty sure that would justify calls to the authorities. But hair? That I can change.
Then I ran out of this bacon. So I went to Safeway, and bought Hormel pre-cooked bacon. Ought to be the same, right? NO! This new bacon does a disservice to all things ever called bacon. It is offensive to the very notion of bacon. It tastes like I imagine a greeting card tastes - a greeting card steeped in tea made with bacon bits and cigarette ashes. Chewy is an understatement. You're better off ripping it into bits and swallowing it whole. Absolutely horrible. Charlotte tried one bite and looked at me with this look that said, loudly, "Mommy, I trusted you. Why did you do this to me?" And now she won't touch it.
So Hormel bacon branded by Kirkland? Gooooooood. Hormel bacon bought at the grocery store? Dog treats.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Then yesterday happened. Elisabeth, as per usual, ate my pita chips and some grapes and some fries all the while complaining the pizza was too hot. Pizza miraculously goes from too hot to too cold with Elisabeth.
A quick aside about food temperature and Elisabeth. She used to want all of her food cold. Like really cold. Essentially frozen. Just put the chicken nuggets on her plate and let her gnaw on them. Now she wants it "warm." This is a completely unattainable goal. Inevitably what I give her is too hot or too cold. I go for too hot so that there is some hope she'll touch it a few minutes later and decide it is "warm" but this doesn't frequently happen. On the off chance that I hit "warm" on the first try, I get quite an affirmation. "See, mommy! I knew you could do it! You got it warm! Good job!"
Back to pizza. So Elisabeth picked about. She managed to eat all of one piece and some of a second. Charlotte, however, plowed through the grapes I put on her plate, a bunch of fries, and ladies and gentlement, that kid at 4.5 pieces of pizza. And she was madder than a hornet when they came and took the (empty) plate away. She just sat there for thirty minutes shoving pizza pieces in her mouth as fast as I could tear them off. It was actually a sight to behold.
I was terrified to pick her up and carry her to the car through the restaurant because she's got a puking track record. I very gently carried her out. She kept it all down and then had herself a nice restful fat bellied nap.
I'm very curious to see if she's blown past the 5th percentile at her 1 yr appt.
Monday, July 21, 2008
- July 21, 1997 Erica lived for two weeks on brownies, beer, and ice cream because she got home from work very very late every night and that's all she had in the fridge/freezer and really, she didn't know how to cook anyway.
- July 21, 2008 Erica just made teriyaki pork tenderloin with rice and veggies for her family. She is, however, having a beer.
- July 21, 1997 Erica drove to her first day of work while drinking her traditional Coke for breakfast - the Coke for breakfast that she'd been having every day since sometime around 1988.
- July 21, 2008 Erica no longer drinks Coke for breakfast. Realizing that maybe it isn't the greatest plan, she now drinks a little bit of coffee for the caffeine, lots of water, and counts the minutes until lunch when she feels she can have her icy Coke.
- July 21, 1997 Erica drove to her first day of work in her brand spanking new Ford Explorer Sport (which despite what the Floridian salespeople told her did in fact need 4WD since it does in fact snow up here in Virginia and there is NO WEIGHT over the rear wheels of an SUV and when that SUV is rear wheel drive, this presents a problem. I digress.) and spilled the aforementioned Coke all over her brand spanking new white linen pants. Cursing, she wondered if there was anything worse that could happen on a first day.
- July 21, 2008 Erica knows that there are worse things that can happen on a first day. Spit up. Stains like Coke, and smells a million and a half times worse.
- July 21, 1997 Erica was only responsible for her own life and did a mediocre job at best of managing it.
- July 21, 2008 Erica is not only responsible for her own life, but is at least partially responsible for the lives of two children and three pets. I'm happy to report they're all still kicking. Although Silly the cat is rapidly using up her lives, at least as far as they exist in my book.
- July 21, 1997 Erica had no idea that accepting a job at MicroStrategy would introduce her to Doug - her best friend, soulmate, and support system. She merely liked the DC area and wanted to do anything other than biology and get paid for it.
- July 21, 2008 Erica is happy to have outgrown the July 21,1997 Erica.
11 years can really fly by. I can't even contemplate that in 11 more years, Elisabeth will be 14 years old. I feel like I blinked and here I am.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Me: Elisabeth, get off of the potty and let me brush your teeth.
Me: That's one.
E: I'm not going to cooperate.
Me: Fine, that's two.
E: I'm really, really, really enjoying not cooperating.
Me: Great, that's three, you've just earned yourself a timeout.
E bursts into tears, screaming, flailing, saying she'll be good, pleading for her life.
Charlotte bursts into tears.
Elisabeth gathers herself together. Charlotte stops crying. Elisabeth pleads for timeout mercy. None is given. She bursts into tears. Charlotte bursts into tears. It is comical. And very, very sweet.
Today, Doug was holding little miss Charlotte and they were playing little game where they'd try to sneak up on me and just as they got close, I'd turn around and roar and scare them and they'd scamper away. Elisabeth has always loved games like this. Charlotte, not so much. She seemed a little scared and never really laughed. So, Doug put her on my lap and Elisabeth, wanting to revert to her 1 yr old self, demanded that Doug play the game with her too. So up onto his hip she went and we played the game. Each time I roared, Elisabeth giggled and giggled. Maybe she giggled a little too loudly? Charlotte burst into tears. I guess she thought I was yelling at Elisabeth? I'm not sure.
This leads me to my second topic, which is a couple additional differences between my kids that I've noticed lately.
- Elisabeth always loved being thrown into the air, turned upside down, flipped, flopped, wrestled with, etc. Charlotte gets this look on her face that simultaneously says "what are you doing to me and why are you being so mean?" and "PUT ME DOWN RIGHT THIS SECOND."
- Dovetailing with the previous one, Elisabeth can, and always has been able to, eat an entire adult sized meal and immediately get flipped and thrown and not have any issues. Charlotte, on the other hand, pukes within 30 seconds of her first flip. Usually on me.
Oh and for all of those worried that Elisabeth would push Charlotte around, and tell her every move to make (that would be - at a minimum - Doug and me), fear not. Today, Charlotte was playing with her "Discovery House," doing her favorite activity of flushing the toilet over, and over, and over again when Elisabeth came over and pushed her hands away. Charlotte grabbed Elisabeth's arm and pulled it up to her mouth and tried to bite it. Quite frankly, we were rooting for Charlotte, but we do realize we'll have to tell her not to bite her sister.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Yes, kid, get Daddy to show you how to do it, and leave me out of it. A degree from MIT, years of coursework towards a masters in computer science, and a law degree have left me unable to conquer a NickJr game (it is possible that the law degree works against me here, judging from the computer literacy of my classmates and coworkers...).
I don't think I mentioned here that Charlotte is taking one step now. Just one, though, then she sits down and crawls. She is delightful and doesn't cast aspersions on her mommy for not being able to make Diego climb a damn ladder and get Baby Jaguar flip a switch. All she does is look at the cat and say CAT and squeal with joy. They should stay this young.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Me: Elisabeth, the day after tomorrow is Jean's birthday and you get to wish her happy birthday!
E: and give her her birthday chocolates?
E: I think we should get her a little Christmas tree.
Me: they don't sell Christmas trees this time of year.
E: no, no, but a liiiiittle Christmas tree.
Me: and where would we go get a little Christmas tree?
E: hmmm, at the Little Christmas Tree Store.
Me: Where is the Little Christmas Tree Store?
E: oh I know I know, its at "little Christmas tree dot com."
Doug and Me (stifling laughter): where did you hear about littlechristmastree.com?
E: don't know.
Doug: are there other dot coms?
E: yes. moose dot com, eyeball dot com, (and she listed a few more that escape me now).
E: and that's all. that's all the dot coms.
Someone wise (my floor tutor from Baker) once told me the key to happiness is low expectations. Maybe my list is too ambitious...
Among the more humorous things that happened was the invention of a game called "performance" in which Elisabeth uses her "announcer voice" (which is very deep and quite announcer-ish) and gives herself a stage name. As an example, she says: "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I have changed my name. I am now Elisabeth the Jumper who Jumps Off." My mother sits on the couch and pretends to be a circus announcer and says things like "Ladies and gentleman, Elisabeth, the Jumper who Jumps off, will now sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider while jumping on one leg!" And Elisabeth performs. The tricks get sillier and sillier, as do the names. And heaven forbid you get one of the names wrong. My mom accidentally called her Elisabeth, the Jumper Who Jumps (leaving off the "off") and was instantly and forcefully corrected. So now, she has informed my mother that she needs to practice her announcing skills before she returns.
As foreshadowing of things to come, this past Friday we were at our neighborhood happy hour when I suddenly looked up and noticed that Elisabeth wasn't around. All of the kids ride their scooters and bikes around the cul de sac while we sit around and eat and drink. Immediate panic set in, as I've never looked up and not been able to find her. I said to my neighbor, who has a little girl a little older than Elisabeth - who is one of Elisabeth's closest friends, "Uh, Paula - our kids are missing." We pop up and start hollering, up and down the street. No kids. Then she says, "I bet they're in your house." Sure enough, there were two little scooters and two little helmets neatly lined up in the garage. We burst inside to find three little girls heading our way with buckets FULL of water from the bathroom sink. Paula yelled enough for the both of us, saying that they were not to come into the house without an adult. And no, they could NOT bring their buckets outside. So Paula and I turn around to walk out and we hear little voices behind us saying, "Let's sneak it out." THEY'RE THREE. What am I going to do when they're 16? Oh, and later? Elisabeth says, "Mommy, I didn't want to come in the house when you weren't here. The other girls did." Uh huh, sure.
The rest of the weekend was filled with a trip to the Reston Zoo, lunches out, and a visit from my good friend Sam. We were all very happy when Daddy returned though - things around here just don't work as well when he's gone. Let's just say I'd make the world's worst single parent.
This weekend also marked the first time that we're positive Charlotte is saying a word. She says "cat" consistenly when we see a cat. And we're almost certain that she says "dog" when she sees Maggie. She is also inventing her own sign language. We have a sign that means "more," "that," "give me that NOW," "I'll have that please." It is all one sign, arm extended towards the item in question, with hand opening and closing. If you don't respond it is quickly followed up with the double hand sign and hollering. That sign is most closely interpreted as, "I don't know WHAT your problem is, you see me, you see what I'm doing, you see what I want, yet you're not giving it to me, what is WRONG with you??"
Oh, and although Elisabeth might look like Doug - she is definitely my kid. She refused to get in the pool at swim lessons today because the water was too cold.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Ah, tantrums. Elisabeth is perfecting hers. I think she felt her skills getting rusty and has given up learning to read for achieving the perfect tantrum. Every little thing set her off today. I asked her to come downstairs and stop hiding from Daddy because (a) he wasn't home yet and (b) he wasn't even leaving the office for another 15 minutes. Just asking her caused immediate tears, screaming, stamping her feet, and general mayhem. Then, at bath time, I told her to get on with the teeth brushing and she broke down. "I don't WANT to be with you, I want Daaaaaaaaaaaddy to be in charge of me. You're with Charlotte, I want Daaaaaaaaaddy." So I counted her to three and she kicked and screamed and wouldn't stand up. So into her room she went. Approximately 30 seconds later, she emerged. "I won't cry anymore." It is amazing how they can turn off the waterworks. But then she proceeded to lobby for being under Daddy's care and not mine.
As an aside from tantrums, unless you consider that this next behavior is going to make me throw tantrums, Elisabeth now argues with me. "Elisabeth, stop wrestling your sister." "No, but I'm just playing with her." "Are you wrestling her?" "No, but she likes it." Or, perhaps, "Elisabeth get dressed so we can go to gym class. Turn off the computer and get dressed." "No, but I'm just playing these games." "Yes, I know you're playing these games, but turn off the computer now and get dressed." "No, but I'm just going to do it in 5 minutes." What is she, 13? I haven't come up with a game plan for combating this latest tactical maneuver of hers. But Operation Mommy Is Still In Control will begin shortly.
Back to tantrums. We appear to be having a contest in this house for who can throw the best tantrums. I suspect it is the reason Elisabeth has brought her old skills out of the closet. Charlotte is coming on strong. In fact, I see more raw tantrum skills in her than in Elisabeth. She is more determined and has a hotter temper. She can really fling that little body of hers in anger. And if you aren't fast enough with getting her whatever it is she has "requested" (aka yelled for while holding her arm out like "Heil Hitler" and opening and closing her hand rapidly), a tantrum ensues. If, by some unfortunate chance, you're faced with having to actually tell her she's had enough of your rice crispy treat - well, just watch out. I think she might be a mini Incredible Hulk. Last week, I think I said this was "cute." Well, today, we officially left "cute." Mark my words, she's trouble. She is damn lucky that she's so cute.
And now, on a happier note, some pictures from our trip to Lewes:
Doug and Charlotte after she has completed her swiping of his hat.
Elisabeth's dream of "driving a firetruck" comes true!
Weird free range egg selling guy in the Doo Dah parade.
Jen and Elisabeth watching Snow White during quiet time.
Elisabeth boogies in her new ballet outfit (not at the beach, but still worth sharing)
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Yesterday, on the 4th, we went to a street festival where they had races for kids. I thought the races would take about an hour. There were three legged races, potato sack races, barrel races, wheelbarrow races, and a race that we couldn't figure out what it was that involved actual potatoes. But for each race, they had a heat for 4 yr olds, 5 yr olds, 6 yr olds - all the way up to 11 year olds! And then one for the parents. Elisabeth could not understand my hesitation to get INTO a barrel and get rolled down the street. Needless to say, I did not participate in any races. It would take a lot of either money or alcohol to get me involved. But lots of parents did participate. It was really quite cute. But it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r.
Elisabeth wanted to stay for the whole thing. We didn't quite stay until the end, but we were there for awhile. This is partially because I (or rather Jennifer...) saw that they were giving rides up in the basket of the ladder truck. So we went over to get in line. It looked like there were maybe 10 groups in front of us. Well, time stood still in that line. We waited for AN HOUR and a HALF until it was our turn. Of course, I had already hyped it up to Elisabeth so any attempts I made at persuading her to not ride up in the ladder truck were rebuffed. 55 feet in the air and the kid didn't flinch. It was pretty neat, and really - when will we get a chance to do it again?
We've spent a few hours here and there at the beach. Elisabeth seems to like it, it is her first real time experiencing the beach. She's not too sure about cold water and hates getting splashed. But I think before long she'll be a little water rat. As her 5th, or maybe even 6th favorite person here (I think I'm behind the dog), I don't get to hang out with her too much.
We went to a "Doo Dah" parade yesterday, through the streets of the town. It was fantastic. So small town. Anyone who wants to parade gets to. There were kids with decorated bikes. There were people in cars all decorated up. Some people had trailers all gussied up like floats. There was a band. And everyone threw candy. LOTS of candy. It was like Halloween without the effort of dressing up and walking around. Doug's dream of finally owning a beer cozy came through. I got a packet of seeds from the Lewes Garden Club. Elisabeth will be hopped up on sugar until approximately 2012. It all felt very festive, very 4th of July.
This morning, I went to the Lewes Farmers Market. I could have spent a zillion dollars there and eaten my weight in baked goods. Instead I just came home with a bag of peaches picked this morning and some honey straws for Elisabeth. I also tasted some mushrooms that they had marinated in something that tasted so good and smelled even better.
In short, I love this place. I could really pack up and live here year round. It is unlike the beach towns I'm familiar with in Florida. This feels like a small town where people live and work. Self contained. Friendly as can be. Oh, and most importantly - Heather - they have a yarn shop. A really cute, nice yarn shop!!!
I'll post some pictures when I'm home where my camera cable is. I have some great pictures. Including one where Elisabeth actually TOOK A NAP. Shocking what the sun will do!