Thursday, January 29, 2009

My children are strange

Elisabeth has been playing with her dolls today, which is rare.  The only reason she's playing with them is because Charlotte likes dolls, and Elisabeth is trying to be like Charlotte.  Elisabeth perceives that Charlotte gets more attention than she does.  Anyway, reason number one Elisabeth is strange - she named her baby Hi-Chou-Chou.  She's had HiChouChou for years now.  Today, HiChouchou got put to bed for his nap.  Reason number two Elisabeth is strange:  up until a few months ago, HiChouChou was a girl.  She magically became a boy.  Elisabeth is very adamant about the fact that HiChouChou used to be a girl, and now is a boy.

4 hrs later, I reminded Elisabeth that HiChouChou was still down for his nap.  She said he was in timeout for being bad.  I asked what he did - she said he "sneezed on her tongue."  Reason number 3.  Then, tonight before Elisabeth went to bed, she sang HiChouChou a lullaby.  It was sung very very sweetly and included lines such as, "now its time to go to sleep, some days we have timeouts because some days we're bad, today you were bad and you had a timeout and now you have to go to sleep."  It went on for a couple of minutes, and was mostly sung to the tune of rock-a-bye baby.  Reason number 4 Elisabeth is strange - her lullabies include narratives on timeouts.  Now, you might argue that perhaps reason number 4 reflects more on us as parents than Elisabeth as a strange one, but she doesn't really have very many timeouts...  

Charlotte is also strange.  She has a collection of dead stink bugs on the arm of the La-z-boy in her room - she has such a strange fascination with them.  She likes to pet the dead ones.    Now this one I will concede might reflect more on Charlotte's parents than on Charlotte, but I blame Doug.  

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pictures from the last month

Since I never post pictures, when I do post them, I have to post a bunch.  Here's a sampling of what we've been up to in the last month.

Priss in Boots (Christmas 2008)

Charlotte sings like an angel (while looking at an angel ornament)

Charlotte doesn't like Smart-E Bear

A rare moment of agreement

Charlotte's cabinet

It takes a family to make rice krispy treats

Not your average fairy godmother...

Why you should not buy the 5 lb bag of M&Ms from Costco (this happened as we were literally walking out the door - it leapt from the cabinet)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I'm getting Elisabeth a pinata for her birthday party in a few weeks.  She, of course, wants a princess one.  Most of the "little girl" pinatas are the kind that you don't hit with a stick.  Instead the prissy little girls get to go up to the pinata and pull a little string.  When one lucky little priss pulls the right string, all of the candy falls out.  

This will clearly not work for my athletic little princess, who wants to beat the princess pinata with a bat while blindfolded.

So, I have been looking and looking online for the perfect princess pinata.  I found one the other day while my mom was here.  I showed it to Elisabeth and said, "there, kid - there is a princess pinata that you can beat the snot out of."  Silence.  And then...

"There's snot in that pinata???"

Doesn't it seem a little bit wrong to let kids beat the hell out of a princess pinata?  Oh well, what do I care?  It keeps Elisabeth happy.  At least I'm not letting them shoot her with a gun or something.  

In other news, instead of shelling out $350 to host her party elsewhere, we're shelling out a whole lot more to have our entire basement repainted and gussied up.  Obviously this will provide us with more use than just a kid's birthday party.  As soon as I have the walls padded and soundproofed, it will become a playroom.   They put the first layer of paint up yesterday and boy is it ever yellow.  My neighbor tells me it is perfect, so I'm trying not to freak out.  I'm a beige kind of girl.  I'll post pictures when we're done, which will hopefully be next weekend.  The next project is tiling the counter in the downstairs bar area.  I'm mixed with excitement and dread, as I'm pretty sure a tiling project can go from fun to disaster in the blink of an eye.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Charlotte on my stuff

There is a pretty funny picture blog called "Stuff on my cat" - here's my twist on it: Charlotte on my stuff...

(even though this is the kids' laptop, not mine...)

(And Doug took this picture... he left the room with Charlotte nicely playing on the computer, aka beating on the keyboard and returned to this)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Little People Racin' Ramps Garage: 1, Erica: 1

As I sit here typing this, I'm moaning because it hurts to keep my arms high enough to reach the keyboard and to hold my head up. Why am I in so much pain , you might wonder? Well, I wrestled with the Little People Racin' Ramps Garage that we got today for Miss Charlotte Stinker Pants. It started off easily enough. In fact, I said "oh Charlotte, we'll delay your nap by a few minutes so that you can play with this once I get it all put together." Looking like a Norman Rockwell painting, Charlotte assisted me in using the screwdriver to put her toy together.

The happy scene ended shortly thereafter when it came time to stick the ramps in. The ramps come in 4 pieces. I could get one in its proper position at any given time. After 45 minutes I realized Charlotte was still awake and decided to take her up for a nap both so that she could sleep and so that I could say the words that I really wanted to say instead of softer alternatives. 20 more minutes, and at least 3 strained muscles later - I got all the ramps in. Then it said I had to put a screw from the bottom of one of the ramps into the body of the garage - easy enough. Except the screw holes didn't even come close to matching up. Not to be deterred, I resorted to brute force to make them match up. Whew. Almost done - just one more step. Attach the handle - which screws into three separate columns. Hmm, why isn't this fitting? Why is it that once I get it on two columns and then try to attach it to the third the whole thing pops off? Well lookie there - one of the columns is totally contorted! That is clearly the reason why the ramps wouldn't snap together. Damn you Fisher Price and your snap together parts!!!

Any of you who have ever assembled these "one time, easy assembly" toys know that the snapping sound when you get two pieces together sounds like angels singing. Except... if you ever want to get them apart again. So I tried to disassemble. I utterly failed. How in the world did Fisher Price sell me such a contorted piece of junk???? Oh, loookie here - a customer service number on the instructions. Let's call.

Wendy answered. She's from Buffalo and sounds exactly like my sister in law. She couldn't have been nicer and agreed to send me a full refund. I bought the contorted piece of junk from Toys R Us, but of course since it is "one time, easy assembly" I can't unassemble it and therefore I can't return it to Toys R Us. She fully understood and agreed. They were sending me a prepaid shipping label and picking up the shipping. Wendy felt terrible about the whole situation, especially when I told her about Charlotte's joyful playing with the tow truck. If they had any in stock, she would send me one right out she promised, but they are out of stock. She apologized no fewer than 15 times and proceeded to take down my information. They'll email me the return label.

Since she was being so nice, and since I had a sort of fondness for Fisher Price because they were so accomodating, I decided to try and disassemble the thing so that I could fit it in a smaller box and save them some shipping. I checked with Wendy first, since it was pretty likely I'd break a snappy tab piece during the disassembly. She said it wasn't a problem since it sounded like this thing was so contorted that they wouldn't be able to fix it. We said our fond farewells and I set about disassembling the thing.

The screws came out easily enough. The ramps even unsnapped with only a few drops of blood escaping from my knuckles. Then I set about to unscrew the "floor support." Hmm. Maybe instead of fitting on this way, it fits on upside down?? Well lookie there - that does look better! Hmm, that horribly contorted post seems to stand upright when that floor support is screwed on upside down. Interesting. Let's check the diagram.

Oh, so it turns out upside down is actually right side up! And exactly 4 minutes later - without any strength required - we have a fully functional, uncontorted Fisher Price Racin' Ramps Garage. I feel like I should call Wendy back and let her know so that she can sleep tonight. But I'm too horrified with my engineering skills to admit it (by the way as I type this I am watching Charlotte get surprisingly close to climbing out of her crib, but blog first I always say!). At least I did not give her my address, right???

Now some of you might dispute the validity of the point I awarded to myself. But... we do have a functional Racin' Ramps Garage do we not??? It was a hard fought battle that ended in a draw.

And now to go rescue the little turkey from her cage. um, crib. Sorry.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Charlotte is trying to make me.... clean.

As we rounded the corner from the stairs to our master bedroom, Charlotte came to a dead stop, grabbed my leg, and started walking backwards while pointing and hollering/crying. She saw this: a stink bug. We have a handful of these guys running around right now. She was terrified. She was unhappy even after Doug showed her that he had escorted the bug out the window.

And now... every piece of fuzz, or clump of pet fur (which we have more of than I care to admit with two cats and a dog) is a boooooooooooooooooooo (which means bug amongst other things like spoon, moon, and poop). She points. She hollers booooooooo. She cowers.

So now I'm left with the option of scaring the kid or (shudder) vacuumming. Poor Charlotte, we all know what wins out.

as a side note, this time last year I was studying for the bar. One of these little stink bugs was living in the curtains next to my desk. He died about a week into studying and I was irrationally sad. This, people, is what the bar exam does to you. And the grey hairs. Although I think those are at least partially Charlotte's fault.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Elisabeth's prayers

Elisabeth has started saying prayers before bed each night. It is incredibly sweet, and a nice window into what's in her head. She also has an increased curiousity about God - asking us the hard questions like when was God born, who are God's parents , etc. She asked me yesterday how God can look over everyone all at once, and as evidence to all of you as to why I should not teach Sunday school, I will reveal my answer: That is his superpower. She is very into superheroes lately and she was completely satisfied with the answer, which is my goal with the theological questions - no follow ups.

Anyway, before bed we say our prayers. We each take turns. I've tried to instill the "give thanks" idea - so we say thank you for various things each day. Some examples:
"Dear God, thank you for Charlotte."
"Dear God, thank you for rainbows."
"Dear God, thank you for my pogo stick."

I told her that we can also ask God to keep people safe and/or healthy, and/or restore their health. My mother had a cold. So now each night I hear:

"Dear God, please help Grandmommy and Granddaddy and all of their dogs - Molly, Abigail, and Chloe - and Aunt Elisabeth and Uncle Jacob and Annaleis feel better from their colds and not get any new colds."

She also goes through each member of Doug's side of the family - through each parent, sibling, and cousin. Wishing each of them immunity from colds.

Sweetly, on the way to school the other day, she sent up a prayer for Doug's mom's dog who recently died:

"Dear God, please have music in heaven because Aisling and me like to dance."

She's also been capitalizing on asking God for things. A recent favorite: "Dear God, please never, ever, ever let it be super duper shmooper windy again." (we recently had a wind storm). Another good one: "Dear God, please let it rain tomorrow and then the sun come out so that I can see a rainbow."

But tonight, I think she got God confused with Santa. After going through the littany of things we give thanks for each night she said, "Oh and dear God, please give me a skateboard. Aaaaaaaa-men."

Edit: I forgot to add a prayer that she said in the car on the way to school, some morning after we had told her that we had no idea who God's parents are. "Dear God, please tell me who your mommy and daddy are. And when you were born. I won't tell anyone."

Monday, January 5, 2009

17 month old monkey, turkey, jokes, and my little rant/rave on dvrs.

Little Miss Fearless sees Elisabeth do flips on the trampoline bar multiple times every day - so it really shouldn't have surprised us to see this:

She's a determined little thing, who is physically very strong. She does this 30 times in a row, stopping to clap for herself in between each "trick."
She's also a little bit of a smarty pants, and not in the "oh my kid is brilliant" sense... This past weekend, we went to visit with Doug's dad, step mom, and sister. Charlotte was being particularly difficult at one point - she did not want her diaper changed, but she stank to high heaven - and so I looked at her and said "Charlotte! You are being such a little turkey!" My kid who says exactly no words on any sort of regular basis looked into my eyes and said "Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble." She continued to gobble, almost with a maniacal tone in her voice. I didn't even know she knew what a turkey said - but she really waited to use that one at an effective moment. Nothing disarms my anger like a hilarious kid moment. Charlotte - master of the delivery.
Oh, speaking of delivery, here's Elisabeth's favorite joke:
Pete and Repeat were in a boat. Repeat fell out, who was left?
This leaves everyone who has ever heard the joke in sort of confused silence. They look at her. Look at us. Look back at her. The response is split - about half quietly say, "Pete?" to which Elisabeth squeals with delight. The other half assume she has delivered the joke erroneously and answer "Repeat." She says, "no no, try again," and lets them try again. It is about a hundred times funnier than the typical Pete/Repeat joke.
Elisabeth goes back to preschool tomorrow for the first time in 2+ weeks. I think I speak for everyone, except perhaps the preschool teachers, when I say the angels are singing. This is also the big week where Elisabeth starts baseball classes. She's wildly excited.
So, on a note unrelated to children in any way - I think that one sure sign I'm a grown up is that Taco Bell ads repulse me. There was a time when virtually everything that entered my mouth cost less than a dollar and was sold to me by a talking chihuahua. Now, the commercials make me feel actually ill.
While on the subject of commercials, I am so thankful for PBS and for the nice people who invented digital video recorders. Until this year's football playoffs, I hadn't realized how wonderful it is that Elisabeth virtually never sees commercials. I mean, sure, I'm thankful that my house isn't outfitted in every "My Little Pony" or "Strawberry Shortcake" piece of junk ever created (I mean, where would I find room amongst all of the Fischer Price toys???). But what I'm really thankful for is that Elisabeth doesn't wander around singing all of the jingles. She heard the "Five dollar footlong" song from Subway, and we've heard it about 20 times a day since then. She even arranges it so that Doug sings part and "then the ladies sing" - the backup singers. And something many of you might not know about me is that I despise - no I actually hate - Subway. So hearing about $5 footlongs makes me gag. But, it is kind of funny to see her cue Doug and then mimic background singers.
I also didn't realize that movie trailers contained such foul language. Really? Is that necessary during NFL games? isn't the NFL supposed to at least be ostensibly family friendly? At least in the comfort of my own home??? I'd rather her see Janet Jackson's nipple than learn the phrase "I [fill in the blank]ed my ass off." And the road to me actually becoming my mother just got miles shorter...