August 2008 Archives

Jude (as he walks away): Okay, I'm going to go and be bad now...

We have been cleaning house non-stop since our outbreak on Wednesday.  (See this post for more details.) Thus instead of a good, Chris-prepared meal, we had dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets for dinner tonight.

Karenna dipped them in ketchup as she ate them and Chris made some comment about a "Krenna-saur" biting into them and making them bleed.

Karenna then asked what the real names of the two shapes of dinosaurs were.

"This one is a The-saur-us," I told her, holding up one shape in my left hand.  "And this one is a Ford-taur-us," as I held up the other in my right.

I then continued to go overboard with my bad joke...

"Vrooom!" the Fordtaurus sped on top of the Thesaurus.  I took a bite out of it.

"I will eat you. Devour. Consume. Digest," said the Thesaurus as I took a bite from Fordtaurus.

This continued for some time until Karenna said, "Mommy, you are ridiculous."

Then Thesaurus replied (from my stomach, at this point), "Silly, Laughable."  Then the buzzer on the dryer sounded, and Fordtaurus made me fire up my engines and speed downstairs to flip another load of laundry...

We were at had a conference with Karenna's teacher before she started Kindergarten this week.

I mentioned before that the teacher wrote nice postcards out to all the members of her class a few weeks ago, and Karenna like it so much she wanted to a write a thank you.  Karenna's teacher said that was the first "thank you" letter she ever got back.

The teacher also mentioned that while writing these cards out she discovered that one of the other teachers was out neighbor.  It got me thinking about our neighborhood:

There are not a lot of small children in our neghborhood.  Most neighbors are retired or parents of college-aged children.  You might think this is sad for my kids, not to have any friends in the nieghborhood, and I have to admit, when we moved in, we were hoping for some neighbor kids as well, but I have come to love our situation.

Being the only young kids on the street, our neighbors pay special attention to Karenna and Jude.  As they walk their dogs, they stop by and let the kids pet them. Everyone is always ready to say hello.

My kids have this extended family of neighbors who have "adopted" my kids.  In turn, my kids are not afraid to call out to them when they see them ont he street.  Or walk over to their yards and "help" water the lawn.  One day, I watched the neighbor across the backyard teach Jude to play ball for thirty minutes simply because Jude walked up and asked him why he and the dog had a ball.

I remember growing up in the 1980s when they taught us to fear strangers.  A whole generation of kids became isolated from their neighbors, afraid to interact with adults, even as they approached adulthood themselves.

Should we teach our kids to fear the adults in the neighborhood and miss the opportunities to learn from them?  Should model isolationist behavior in the name of protecting our children or should we teach them how to be neighborly?

Last week, while Chris and I were making a grocery list, Karenna got mad at her Daddy. She looked at him disapprovingly, and then at me, "That's it! Can you cross off 'ice cream'? Right there, Mommy. Cross it off."

Epliogue: I drew a line through it, drew an arrow and marked "blog".

So about a week ago Chris started watching The Wrath of Khan during the kids' quiet time.  I call it "quiet time" because while Jude takes a nap, Karenna is at the age where she is given the option to just play quietly in her room or rest.  Eventually when she has had enough quiet time, she emerges.

I found that Karenna had made it out of her room and had gotten interested in Chris's movie, so I voiced my objections, "You're not going to keep watching that with her in the room are you?"

"What?" he asked.

"That movie gave me nightmares about the bug thingy in the ears after I saw it in the theater when I was in elementary school," I complained. He shut the movie off.

Fast forward to Karenna's first day of kindergarten: a half day.  It went well. She loved it, but she came home itching her head like crazy. I checked her head.  Elementary school-aged kid, active social life: you can guess where I'm going with this... yes, head lice. Ew!

We began to plot our plan of attack for cleaning Karenna, checking all other heads, warning everyone else she was around, and decontaminating every area of our house.

Karenna was naturally curous about what was going on and what we had to do, since she had to sit for hous upon hours of head cleaning.  Chris explained to her about the bugs that were in her hair and how we had to get them, their eggs and their babies out.  She was as freaked out as the rest of us, and cried at first.  Chris was afraid she would really be worked up and have trouble sleeping.

My response: "It could be worse.  Al least you didn't let her watch The Wrath of Khan last week before this."

Two things you need to know:

  1. The kids like getting Loony Tunes via Netflix.
  2. I don't know where he got these ideas, but Jude has decided that the words "pretty" and "beautiful" are adjectives for girls only and "handsome" is the adjective used to describe a boy. (See my post on Gender-Neutral Fireworks for more.)

Now for this bit o' dialogue...

Me: Daddy's a beautiful man.
Jude: No. He's not!
Me: Then what is he (expecting "handsome", the usual response from him)?
Jude (authoritatively): He's despicable.

At her school-aged day care center, kids are given strikes throughout the day for not following the rules.  Karenna has decided to give out some strikes of her own.  At one point, Chris had 13, I had 3, Jude had 1, and Karenna, of course, had none.  Then Jude and I redeemed ourselves and each had one taken away.

Me: Karenna, you are a piece of work.
Karenna (indignantly): Hey!
Daddy: She should get a strike for that.
Karenna (after a pause): That's okay; you don't get any strikes.
Me: Maybe Daddy should get another strike for that.
Karenna: Daddy, that's 14 strikes.
Daddy: Karenna, you should get a strike for being a pawn of your mother.
Karenna (turning and looking at him disapprovingly): That's 15 strikes.
Me: This is so going in the blog.
[Daddy laughs.]
Karenna: For laughing? 16.

Epilogue: I saw Chis later with an art paper on his chest, with the numbers 22, 23, and 24 written in kid writing on it. "Oh yes," he said, "I'm getting a written report now."

One of Jude's favorite books is Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli.

On each left-hand page a yummy thing is presented, "Burgers are yummy," followed by a contrasting item on the right-hand page, "Boogers are yucky."  Other combos include sandwiches and sand, fish sticks and fishfood, blueberries and blue crayons, and mudslides and mudpies—okay I made that one up; it would be in my Yummy Yucky book.

One of the most innaccurate pairings would be, "Mommy's cookies are yummy. Mommy's coffee is yucky."  And, no, this is not from the perspective of my mudslide-drinking Yummy Yucky book, but from Jude's own perspective.

You see, Jude likes to mooch anything his Daddy has for breakfast even if it is typically an adult aquired taste.  After his morning cereal at 7AM, he waits for Daddy to get up around 9-ish to have second breaskfast from Daddy's plate.  Daddy makes peppers and egg sandwiches with Mancini Longhots hot peppers.  Daddy also makes himself a cup of coffee.

One morning, Jude found Daddy's coffee cup on the kitchen counter. He took a step stool over to it and stole a sip.  When caught, instead of disliking the coffee, Jude grinned from ear to ear and said, "Daddy, I liked you coffee (pronounced 'coppy')!"

This weekend, Chris asked if I was going to have coffee, and I declined.  However, Jude jumped up all over the furniture, as if already caffeinated, and grinning again, "Daddy, I will have (pronounced 'hab') some. I like it! Coffee! Coffee! Coffee!"

Kindergarten starts this week.  Karenna is nervous.  You'd expect that for a big change like that.

It's not because of new kids.  Many of the kids at her day care will go to the same school.  Plus she's used to meeting new friends at dance and basketball camp.

It's not because of the big kids.  Her day care moved her to the building with school-aged kids over the summer and she loved being around the older group.

It's not the teacher or building.  She had a Kindergarten camp over the summer.  Our school district offers this camp for two weeks in the summer over half-days to help Kindergartners make the transition.  She loved it.  Her teacher for camp happened to be her classroom teacher for the year, and she adores her.  The teacher sent a very nice post card to the kids last week and Karenna loved it!

It's not the classwork.  Karenna makes school work for herself in her free time.  At preschool, she spent hours at the art table, even as other kids got bored with it.  At a birthday party, while other kids moved onto games she continated a cakes decorating activity making precise symetrical adornments to her cake.  (I was afraid she would want me to save the cake forever when she finished.)  At home she is constantly doing pen and paper activities asking me to spell out words.  (She even had me help her write a thank-you letter for her teacher.  I spelled the words and she wrote them out.)

No.  Her fear is the lunch line.  (This is from a kid who has had lunches at preschool since she could eat solid foods with teeth.)  Here is a sampling of her lunch line anxieties:

  • What if I do it wrong?
  • What if I don't know how to read what the choices are?
  • What if I need another straw because mine broke?
  • Will the lunch ladies be mean or nice?
  • What if I don't know how to use a spork?

No funny story about the kids today.

If you've been following this blog you know Chris and I are on Twitter (Zorp75ck and NikkiMK06, respectively).  Recently I had the pleasure of following and adding a new Twitter follower, and if you are a parent, on Twitter, and share some of my opinions on media and parenting, you may want to add her too: welcome @MaryRothschild to SmallParts!

Mary Rothschild, is the Founder and Director of Healthy Media Choices.  Check out their Website for some useful links to parenting resources and similar organizations.  Follow her on Twitter to hear the latest topic regarding the media and your kids.

Our downstairs bathroom sprung a leak right before Jude's second birthday.  Chris attempted to fix it to no avail.  Then he had big plans of remodeling the whole thing and making it a full bath.  Needless to say I had my doubts.

"Chris, you hate home improvements.  You grumble even with the small projects.  What makes you think you would want to take an entire bathroom out of commission to do a large project like this?" I asked him.

"I want to learn," he tried to convince me.  "Plus it would be nice to have another full bath.  We'll work on it little by little over a few months."

So fast forward a few months after Jude's third birthday.  The downstairs bathroom is out of commission.  We downgraded that project to just fixing the problem in question and not a full remodel/upgrade.  (He was going to fix this the week before Karenna's fifth birthday, but he wanted to give us the bedroom door we've been waiting since we moved in four years ago.  He figured it would take a day.  It took four—sort of, as there is some trim waiting to be hung in our bedroom.)

Now, in the last few days, Chris noticed a drip in the upstairs sink, so he has been reminding all of us to make sure we turn the handle so that it drips less.  When he reminded Karenna to do so, he added, "Maybe Daddy will take a look at that and fix it pretty soon."

Karenna, looking concerned, spoke up, "Oh no, Daddy, you can't fix it, or we won't have any bathrooms left and we will pee out pants!"

So Jude was playing with a toy tractor.

Jude: I have a farm (pronounced "parm").
Chris: What do you grow on your farm?
Jude: Umm, milk.
Chris: You grow milk on your farm?
Me: How do you do that? Do you plant it in the dirt?
Jude (acting like I was absolutely ridiculous): Nooooo!
Me: Then how do you grow your milk?
Jude: In the fridge (pronounced "pridge")!

Epilogue: I found out after it is grown on the fridge, we buy Jude's milk "crop" from (pronounced "crum") our cereal.

In Too Deep

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Karenna is used to "swimming" in kiddie pools. The other day, she was in a pool with a lifevest on, but still made her friend's grandma hold onto her the whole time...

Me: Were you afraid of the water, Karenna?
Karenna: No, there was just too much of it, that's all.

Jude (folding the pop-up book shut, making sound effects): We're being crushed! Aaaaaaagh!


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Karenna (patting own head, gratefully): Thank you, Brain, for giving me that idea!

The kids had friends (two sisters) over and Karenna correctly noted that her friend's younger sister was a year older than Jude.  Then she said she and her friend were the same age.

Me: Actually, Karenna, she is almost a year older than you. Her sixth birthday will be soon.
Karenna: Um, no. We measured our tall and we're the same age.

You may remember Karenna has been dealing with girl bullies.  I gave her something to say and made her rehearse the statement to use when she felt she she was being bullied by her friend, "I don't have to play with you. I have other friends who are nice to me."

Well, Karenna, in true older sister fashion, attempted to teach this tactic to her brother recently when Jude told us about the typical preschool events of some friend or other hitting him and Jude hitting back.  They rehearsed, "I don't have to play with you. I have other friends who are nice to me."

We picked up Jude from preschool today. We asked how his day want.  His teachers gave a good report.  Then Jude got in the care and gave his own report:

"I beed a good boy!" Jude said proudly, "My friend (prounounced "fwend") hit me and I hit him back.  And then I said 'I don't want to play with you. I have other friends who are nice to me.'"

Role Playing

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At dinner tonight...

Karenna (teasing): I'm not going to be your daughter anymore.
Chris: You're not?
Jude (playing along): I will be your daughter!
Karenna (jealous): No! I'm the daughter!
Chris: Too late the position has been filled internally.  We have an opening for a son...
Karenna: No, I don't want to be a boy.  I will be the mommy.
Chris: But Mommy wants to be the mommy.  If you replace her, wont you miss her?
Karenna (not hesitating): No.
Chris: Jude, if you don't let Karenna be the daughter, Mommy can't be the mommy.  Won't you miss mommy?
Jude (grinning): No!
Me: It's okay, Daddy. I'll be the son.  I'll have all the action figures. They're mine.
Jude (now upset): They're mine.
Me: Then let Karenna be the daughter again so I can be the mommy.
Jude: Okay.
Me: It's a deal.

My sister Lisa called me.  Her three-year-old son Luke has been nagging her for a playdate with his cousin.

Luke: Mommy, I want to have a friend over my house.  His name is Jude.

I had a later-than-usual day today, so "Grammy Jen" picked up the kids and offered to make dinner for us all.  On the way out the door, Jude said good by to his "Pappy Rick"

Jude: Bye, Pappy.  Shut the door. Seriously (pronounced "see-wee-us-lee"), Pappy. I'm really serious (pronounced ree-wee see-wee-us).
Me (after Grammy said good-bye to the kids): Say "Good-Bye" and "Thank you!" to Grammy.
Jude: Good-Bye. Thank you!
Me: Blow kisses.
Jude (yelling after Grammy): Blow kisses!


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So I was reading the blog post of a friend with a toddler today which reminded me of my own kids' terrible twos.  (Some days I think that one of the two seems content to make them the terrible threes as well.)

When Karenna was three, she was a biter.  She didn't bite us, but she bit someone every day at daycare.  Every time I felt like a failed parent, and every day they reassured us that this was normal.  If there was a bright spot, it would have to be the header of the written report for biting:

"Oops! I bit one of my friends today..."

If all written reprimands were as amusing as this one, I could take a little constructive criticism:

  • "Oops! My work performance does not meet expectations this year..."
  • "Oops! I exceeded the speed limit, did not realize the annoying tailgater behind me was actually a police car pulling me over, and almost ended up in a high speed chase today..."
  • "Oops! I've exceeded my debt-to-income ratio..."

Jude was at a birthday party today.  I'm pretty sure he had already told the boy, the boy's grandma, and several of his friends, what we were getting him for a present before he left preschool on Friday.

You see, with Karenna, we'd play a little brainwashing game where I'd wrap a gift in front of her and no matter what it was, I'd call it a lump of coal and maker her repeat that:

Me: What did we get Daddy? A lump of...
Karenna: A lump of coal.
Me: What is it really?
Karenna: It's a lump of coal.

With Jude, however, the stubborn little guy refuses to play along.  It upsets his reality:

Me: What did we get your friend? It's a lump of coal.
Jude: No, it's Star Wars people.
Me: I know that, but we can't say that until he opens the present. We say lump of coal.  It's a lump of coal.
Jude (getting angry): No, it's not.
Me (attempting a compromise): How about we say it's a surprise?
Jude: No!

So, when we get to the party, I find that little boys and girls are all fighting to reveal their gifts to the birthday boy.  One little boy goes to far, nearly pulling the gift out and revealing it.  His mother takes him away, leaving the gift behind.  That's where my boys comes in...

Jude (reaching into the other boy's gift bag to take a peak): It's a Spiderman!

The kids came in from outside after playing with one of Jude's toy lightsabers.

Jude: Daddy, look (pronounced "wook"), a bug!
Chris: Why is there a dead grasshopper in your lightsaber?
Karenna (answering on his behalf, in typical older sister fashion): Because he had to save me from it.

Karenna got a nail painting kit for her birthday.  She has been very excited to play with it.  So has Jude.

Karenna: You can't play with my toy.  It's my present.  And besides, boys don't get their nails painted.
Jude: Well, when I'm a girl, I can!

Similarly, Karenna used to ask for a little sister.  I would give her many reasons why she couldn't have one: she's have to share her room, her toys, etc.

Me: Besides, you have a baby brother.  Isn't that enough?
Karenna: Well, when we're done with Jude, can I have a baby sister?

This one's not a funny story.  It's more of a question.

Karenna, came home and said her "boyfriend" (the boy who kept calling my house) dumped her.  This has been going on and off all week.

She showed me her two pointer fingers.  She said, "He told me, 'This one's you.  This one's the trash can. You're dumped.'"  She put her two fingers next to each other.  Some elementary school gesture or something the boy got from a TV show, I'm guessing.

The next day it was back to love letters and pictures and phone numbers from the boy.  And then dumped again the day after that.

I was using my scrapbooking tools to make gift tags for upcoming birthday parties.  Karenna wanted to use an old paper-cutter I gave her from my scrapbooking kit.

Karenna got out all the artwork and such that he had given her.  (They do art all day, so it really adds up.)  She cut up everything.  "He dumped me, so I'm cutting this stuff all up," she said.

I don't ever remember watching something where the scorned lover burned or tore up love letters and pictures (remember, we don't have cable), so where did she pick up this little imitative trick?

Typically, Jude spends a fair amount of time in the office at preschool, but he's been pretty good lately.  However, Karenna's not off to a good start this week.

She got three strikes in two days.  At least she is honest.

"I got the one yesterday because my one friend got this toy out when we weren't supposed to," she explained.  "And I got one too."  She got talked into following one of her friends.

"Then I got my first one today for doing my ballet on a desk because I forgot they told me not to."  This one was 100% Karenna.

"Then I got my second one because [the girl bully] was calling my friends and me names like loser and baby, so I called her a name back."  Another one where she is being influenced.

"Karenna," I told her, "I'm disappointed that you're following your friends bad choices."

"But, Mommy," she argued, "I still get a sticker because I only got two strikes today."

"That doesn't matter to me, I said.  "Stickers don't matter to mommies.  What matters is that we want our little girls to be themselves, not like somebody else's little girl.  Please don't follow someone else's bad choices."

"But what if [the girl bully] is calling me names?  What do I do"

"Did you turn into a baby when she called you a baby?  Did you turn into a loser?  If I called you an octopus, do you think you would turn into one?  Names don't mean anything.  Just tell the girl, that she can call you whatever she wants, but that doesn't make you any of those things.  When she's done calling people names, you'll play with her again."

"I'll tell her she can call me an Octopus, but I'm not an Octopus because names don't work."

We bought some grilled stickies to heat up and eat with ice cream after dinner today.  (For those of you not familiar grilled stickies, they are The Diner's answer to sticky buns.)  At some point Chris made the comment that we were not eating one of our more healthy dinner's tonight.

Karenna (defensively): We're having a healthy dessert, though!
Chris: Not exactly.  Grilled stickies aren't a healthy dessert.
Karenna: Yuh-huh.  They're grilled.

We picked Jude up from school today.  We found out he was well behaved in school today and took the newsletters they send home to school.  In the car, Jude wanted to "read" the newsletter, so we gave it to him.

Jude said, as he pointed to the text on the page, moving his finger for each syllable, "This one says, 'You beed good.'"

Then he moved to another section of the paper, and did the same motion, "That one says, "No poopy underpants.  Pooped in potty."

Okay, so band-aids, tissues, and Altoids aside, we have a non-consumable means for repairing boo-boos:

For Christmas last year, Chris got this sonic screwdriver like Doctor Who uses on the TV series.  The kids love it!

Today, Jude was playing with it when we heard a cry from one of the kids' bedrooms.

"I'll take care of it," Chris said.

I assumed he'd be applying the proper kissed, banages, or placebos; but I would be wrong.

"All taken care of," he said, when the bedrooms got quiet and he returned.

"What did you do?" I asked.

"I used the sonic screwdriver on Jude to fix the boo-boo."


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Several months ago after starting to listen to the They Might Be Giants Friday Night Family Podcast, Karenna begged to have her own podcast.  So she and I completed Karenna Can Read, Epidose #1, a podcast where Karenna talks about her favorite books.  We became slackers, and never got around to an episode #2.

When talk of doing another podcast came around again, another little buddy wanted to contribute.  "I want a podcats!" Jude said.

"You mean podcast," Karenna corrected.

"That's what I said," Jude replied, sounding frustrated, "pod-cats."

So I asked the kids what they would choose as their podcast topic.  Jude wanted The Goonies.  Karenna wanted Doctor Who.  Then Karenna suggested a topic that allowed them to both reach agreement.  The result is this Karenna and Jude (Pod-Cats), Episode #1.

The kids were on scooters this evening doing tricks and showing off for me.  Remember that earlier this week Jude was corrected for the language he used when upset over a fly(If you have not read the linked post, you may want to read it first before moving on.)

Karenna: Oh my God! Mom, did you see what I did on the scooter?
Me: Karenna we don't say, "Oh my God!"
Karenna: I mean, "Oh my gosh!"
Jude: Karenna, we say "stinkin'"!

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