Thursday, February 28, 2008

Endings and beginnings

Flipper and I went to our new place yesterday afternoon, so I could check it out again (I only saw it once, during the initial walk-through) and to feel, hopefully, a bit more excited. But it's hard. The logical, "head-oriented" me is excited. About to be a home-owner (sort of), with my own place, forever, or at least the next 15-20 years. Closer to school-friends, closer to the playground, within walking distance to Carr Mill Mall and the big Weaver Street, much closer to The Cult, my parents' house, etc. Flipper gets her own room. Etc., etc. But I am giving up something intangible, something that means a great deal to me: my vision of the surroundings I want Flipper to be raised in. A huge yard. A quiet cul-de-sac. A trampoline, a sandbox. Incredible neighbors, ones with little kids, ones so kind that she is now bold enough to leave our house and ride her little bike all 50 yards to their house, knock on the door by herself, and go inside and play while I wrap up the current issue of whatever trashy magazine I am reading and saunter down to hang out and talk/supervise when I feel like it. The reality is this: many friendships rely on propinquity, a new word, perhaps, for some of you, which means "nearness in place." And so while my neighbors and I will always be "friends", it simply won't be the same, because it can't be the same. All the spontaneous gatherings, fun times, spur-of-the-moment, impromptu dinners...all of that will vanish. And yes, yes, I know we'll make new friends, or maybe we won't. So I am gaining convenience. Security. Serious privacy/boundaries established with Flipper's dad. A smaller outlay of money to put gas in my car every month. A large pool...which may not even be filled this summer due to the drought. We will be there by the beginning of April. Visit. Often. Pool or not!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Positive Influence of a Father

Short and sweet. And very very true.

Stage set: our kitchen, this morning. Small child approaches incredibly stressed (but hiding it well) adult.

Child "My finger hurts. Can I have a Band-Aid?"

Adult inspects finger. No injury of any kind. "Yes"

Small child disappears from stage, then reappears.

Child "Do you want to see it?"

Adult (breathing deeply)"Sure."

Child "It is on my middle finger. I call that the Daddy finger."

Adult, thinking to self: Great.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Nighty-Night

In some sort of amusing (and vain) attmept to squelch Flipper's bad habits with minimal intervention on my part has seen something new in our bed: the advent of The Chapter Book. This is a big deal for Flipper, the whole grown-up, big-kid concept of it, although the reality is that she misses pictures, but won't admit it, and I can practically hear the little wheels churning frantically in her head as she transitions from seeing photographs, illustrations, cartoons-to trying to create those images AND follow a storyline, plot, what have you-all at the same time. It is automatic, once you learn to read, yet when you think about it, it is REALLY hard!! So back to the bad habits...I will resist listing them, and expounding upon why they drive me to the edge of sanity, but luckily I DO have amongst the multitudes of kiddie book holdovers from my own childhood two old, very tattered and worn copies of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Hello, Mrs Piggle-Wiggle! Did anyone else read these besides me? And I STILL love them! Mind you: I have no illusions that any book at all will make her magically stop any of the irksome things that I fear will make her some sort of outcast in junior high, and I even got a little lesson in the sheer futility of this exercise when, after telling her for the one millionth time to STOP BITING YOUR NAILS and said, "Is there ANYTHING I can say that will help you stop?" And she she said, "No." Not defiantly, not rebelliously, not whiningly...just no. SO I will probably give up, at least on that front. But as to the other little battles, I dragged out the old Mrs Piggle Wiggle books,and we started Friday night. She is crushed up against me, not to put too fine a point on it, listening intently, concentrating quite hard. I fear the whole thing may simply be over her head, adn she likes it because, quite frankly, she would be happy if I read the phone book to her. She simply loves being read to. If you are not familiar with these books, here is the Clif Note: 1940's-50's small town, white bread America where Mommy stays home and makes brownies for afterschool snacks while wearing skirts, heels and neck-scarves, and Daddy goes to work and comes home happy. Idyllic. Except for some irksome bad kid-habits, like being selfish, not wanting to put away toys, take a bath, etc. All of these little blips on this Pleasantville childhood are "magically" cured by a widow living in a fun house where all the kids like to play. In other words, My Fantasy Come To Life. As the brownie-baking mommy, mind you, NOT the woman whose yard/house are filled with kids not belonging to her. Last night we wrapped up Chapter 3, about a little girl that was, frankly, quite the smart ass. So her mother tripped down to Mrs P's house and picked up a large parrot (I kid you not), and parrot's main thing is to back-talk any kid until the kid goes completely bonkers, can't stand it anymore, and never makes another "I'll do it becasue I want to but not because you tell me to" comment to a parent again. Flipper thought this chapter was hilarious. I mean, side-splitting funny. And just what did she think was so amusing? Why, that's right! NOT the little brat getting her verbal comeuppance from a bird for god's sake, but the smart alecky, annoying obnoxious comments from both bird AND human. I fear this may backfire on me. But I hope not.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Red



Behind every redhead is a string of broken hearts...here is Flipper with two of her favorite sibling/friends in the entire world, and her heart still intact. I am consistantly impressed with how well these two play with her, especially considering that the little girl is almost nine! It is in direct contrast to how my sister and I "played" with other children: when alone, we were great. But together? Then we were mean, evil, exclusionary...I could go on and on but instead I will use words to paint a picture for you: I have a photograph taken of my mother's side of the family at the annual summer family reunion at Porter Springs in the north Georgia mountains, near Dahlonega. Visualize this: a long set of steps leading from the house to the lake dock. Steps filled with people, tons of people. 7 or 8 kids, ranging in age from 4 or 5 to 13 or 14. Near the bottom sit two little blonde girls, my sister and me. Trapped between us is a small boy, eyes shut and crying. On either side of this poor child are the two evil bad seeds: us. We are staring-not at the camera like everyone else but at him with expressions of total disgust and contempt on our faces. We were probably shocked and annoyed that after hours of relentless teasing he finally cracked, the poor kid. SO...sorry, Richard! And congrats, Erika, for raising such great team players! I predict they'll go far in life...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Things That Make You Feel Lame (as a parent)

Alternate title "Most Worthless Post Ever."

"My shoes don't feel good anymore."

Oh?

"My toes are all mashed at the end and that makes them hurt."

How long has it felt like that?

"A long time."

Great. Just great. Guilt ensues. Only buying something will assuage it. She will be like me, totally blind and failing math because she can't read the blackboard and then she will get her first (of many) pairs of glasses and say what I said, "I can't believe trees have so many leaves on them." (this is a true story)

But back to the feet...Flipper does not, in fact, have flippers. She has teeny tiny delicate feet that would not be out of place in, say, rural China many years ago. Because most of her grows pretty slowly, and if you remember, this is how I justify buying insanely expensive clothes for her: because we get two solid years out of them. I must state up front that I have done something I try (and fail) not to do: become brand-loyal. I am not brand-loyal to mnay things, all four cars I have owned have been, repectively, and Isuzu Trooper, a Volvo station wagon, a huge beast of a Mercedes that was originally owned by my grandfather; I buy and use only Canon cameras. That's about it.

But for the tiny-footed girl? Heading towards our 5th pair of Merrell's. How I love their shoes! Not the mocs for adults, that generally look as though one is wearing huge baked potatoes on their feet, but cute, sporty, incredibly long-lasting shoes in great fun colors, and nary an annoying blinking red light among them. No real shock that ANY light-up shoes are banned at The Cult. Personally, I hate light-up shoes and think their "invention" came from the school of "Let's do it because we CAN", as opposed to "Let's not create another trick for consumers." Oh yeah...then our economy would collapse.

So "we" ordered two new pairs of shoes, and unfortunately the website seems to be reluctant to let me copy an image. But here is a plug for same website: onlineshoes.com. I was so impressed with several things: full range of every style, and every color. All sizes in stock. Free shipping. You may be wondering how I know her shoe size, but that's easy. I looked in the ones she has outgrown, you know, the ones that are mashing her toes and causing me guilt, and I sized up, after double-checking with the shoe size guide in the most recent Hanna Andersson catalog. I am easily as excited as she is to receive them, I think they call that "living vicariously through your offspring." Whatever. I buy almost everything online, that way I can control (manipulate) the offerings to leave out anything I don't want to hear whining about. So I give her two options, ones that I like, and then she chooses, feeling, for a moment, in charge. SO, when the little teeny tiny size 10's arrive, I will then take a picture of Cinderella and her new shoes.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Your personal style?

During a brief discussion with a friend at my "other" house, aka Wilson Park, my mind flashed on an old psychology class, developmental psych, to be exact, about parenting styles. I haven't thought much about the classification of how people parent, although it is interesting to me that we are ever-so-quick to label our children as "shy" or "smart" or whatever. But label ourselves? I think not. So, if you are interested, below are the three recognized "styles" of parenting.

Authoritarian
Authoritarian parents always try to be in control and exert their control on the children. These parents set strict rules to try to keep order, and they usually do this without much expression of warmth and affection. They attempt to set strict standards of conduct and are usually very critical of children for not meeting those standards. They tell children what to do, they try to make them obey and they usually do not provide children with choices or options.
Authoritarian parents don't explain why they want their children to do things. If a child questions a rule or command, the parent might answer, "Because I said so." Parents tend to focus on bad behavior, rather than positive behavior, and children are scolded or punished, often harshly, for not following the rules.

Children with authoritarian parents usually do not learn to think for themselves and understand why the parent is requiring certain behaviors.

Permissive
Permissive parents give up most control to their children. Parents make few, if any, rules, and the rules that they make are usually not consistently enforced. They don't want to be tied down to routines. They want their children to feel free. They do not set clear boundaries or expectations for their children's behavior and tend to accept in a warm and loving way, however the child behaves.
Permissive parents give children as many choices as possible, even when the child is not capable of making good choices. They tend to accept a child's behavior, good or bad, and make no comment about whether it is beneficial or not. They may feel unable to change misbehavior, or they choose not to get involved.

Democratic Or Authoritative
Democratic parents help children learn to be responsible for themselves and to think about the consequences of their behavior. Parents do this by providing clear, reasonable expectations for their children and explanations for why they expect their children to behave in a particular manner. They monitor their children's behavior to make sure that they follow through on rules and expectations. They do this in a warm and loving manner. They often, "try to catch their children being good" and reinforcing the good behavior, rather than focusing on the bad.
For example, a child who leaves her toys on a staircase may be told not to do this because, "Someone could trip on them and get hurt and the toy might be damaged." As children mature, parents involve children in making rules and doing chores: "Who will mop the kitchen floor, and who will carry out the trash?"
Parents who have a democratic style give choices based on a child's ability. For a toddler, the choice may be "red shirt or striped shirt?" For an older child, the choice might be "apple, orange or banana?" Parents guide children's behavior by teaching, not punishing. "You threw your truck at Mindy. That hurt her. We're putting your truck away until you can play with it safely."

So. There it is. A bit dangerous, I think, to break down something so complex into three little boxes, and yet I see this as pretty accurate; I am quite sure we can all immediately think of parents we know and instantly classify them into one of the above groupings. It is harder, I think, to apply this same labeling to one's own style, because it is really, really hard to not place any type of value judgement on the parenting styles; reducing them to "good" or "bad". And, I think it also really hard, nay, IMPOSSIBLE to read about these styles and not apply them to your own childhood. What I am more interested in is how these styles play out between parents. My father was authoritative, mother more democratic, etc. This isn't necessarily good or bad; it is simply the way it was. There is always this little niggling doubt in the back of my mind about parenting; I both fear and hope that what I do will shape her into a good person, responsible, loving, etc. But outside of some hardcore abuse, will it really? Does ANYTHING I do matter? Sometimes I think it does, sometimes I think it doesn't. Flipper pretty much has three parents. Me, Keith, and Smokey. My mother is, by far, the best out of us three. Endless patience, energy, funds...and Flipper is the happy recipient. Lucky little girl! The OTHER thing that interests me is how parenting has changed through the ages; will it continue to evolve? Will there be some sort of (inevitable) backlash against what is regarded as today's "permissive" parenting? Or will things simply change to meet the times, as it were? Believe it or not, this post really IS going somewhere, but not until tomorrow.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Early in the morning

Saturday morning. 7:37 a.m.

I wish I could sit on your lap every day for the rest of my life.

Me too.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy VD

I took the advice of my co-worker and didn't get all crazed for Valentine's Day. This was wise of me, if I do say so myself. I am often, too often, in fact, obsessed with giving, trying to make every teeny tiny occasion "special" often at great stress/effort/money. And how completely idiotic of me. My co-worker reminded me that plain, simple things are magic for kids because they are out of the ordinary. So on the way to pick-up yesterday, I pulled into Harris Teeter-because it was on the way-and bought a card, a small heart-shaped tin, and a bag of those dreadful "conversation hearts" that taste like sugary chalk. Flipper loves candy like that. Who else does? She loves Smarties at Halloween, conversation hearts on Valentine's Day. Yuck. For a rainy afternoon, the Teeter was PACKED. With many young, college-aged boys, wandering about with a flower or two in their hands, and picking up then putting down then picking up again some sort of chocolate. It was so endearing, I couldn't believe it. They all looked so, so earnest. These are the things that happen that make me feel very, very old. I had to restrain myself from offering "advice" in the form of "Don't buy the disgusting Hershey's, you palate-challenged, uncouth rube. Buy the Black and Green's, the Dagoba...it's not like she is going to eat it anyway!" Then I left.
After Flipper laboriously dumped pounds of Elmer's glue in her doilies beofre drownign them in glitter and fell asleep, I went downstairs, filled the tin and signed the card I bought. This morning, she was thrilled. I may have discovered the best way EVER to get her out of bed...tell her there is "something special" waiting at her place at the table. And now, as an amusing aside, yesterday marks the first time in literally 10 or 15 years that I have bought a greeting card for a designated holiday. Usually I buy cool unusual nature cards from bookstores, gift shops, etc. I found myself mesmorized by the brilliance of the marketing geniuses at American Greeting and Hallmark, for they have covered every possible human relationship. I couldn't believe it. Here are a few of the cards I saw:

"For my daughter and her boyfriend." Yeah, right. It SHOULD read "For my daughter and the disgusting animal that is trying his hardest to get-and keep- her in bed before he breaks her heart."

"For my partner." Actually somewhat impressed at this tiny example of some sort of tacit acceptance of gay relationships.

"My wonderful stepmother." (love, Snow White. or Cinderella. or really, almost any fairy tale.)

I'll stop now. But I think you get the picture.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hot Lips

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. After "work" I am going to pick up a little something for the love of my life...which would be my little kid. When I was young, my mother ALWAYS, always, got us something awesome every Valentine's Day. And something for my dad, who believes in it not at all. So he never gets her anything, and she gets all of us something, because it makes her happy. The only gift I still remember was the year she got us a glass box shaped like lips filled with Red-Hots. I was around 9 or 10. I wish I knew what happened to that little glass box. I tried to pick up a small heart-shaped box of chocolates from Weaver Street this morning on my way to work, but they were all gone. I don't really want to get her candy anyway. Maybe a flower? Or flowers? She loves them. Maybe a heart t-shirt from Target? No...too much effort plus I would have to go into a huge store, which I REALLY dislike. This post is obviously going nowhere... and her assignment to make 15 Valentines for school tomorrow is weighing heavily on her tiny mind, as she has asked me to help her with them. She never asks for help with any kind of art project, unless it is pure set-up, as in pour the paints, tie my apron, etc. This feels suspiciously like homework to me!! Hopefully, inspiration will strike BOTH of us in the next few rainy chilly hours.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

NOT a lying liar

I just read a fascinating article about children and lying, published in New York magazine (not the Sunday magazine that accompanies the New York Times). Here is the link. But it is a tad long. http://nymag.com/news/features/43893/ It didn't really break any new ground for me; kids lie to get out of trouble, teenagers lie becasue they've seen us do it a million times (little white lies) blah blah blah. But it did bring up something I hadn't before considered: that the better a young child is at lying, the smarter he or she is. It is, according to this article, a sign of intelligence. Knowing that, I now know something else: Flipper is dumb. Or at least not smart. She rarely lies, and when she does she is so transparently awful at it, that I struggle mightily not to break into hysterical laughter, while inwardly praying, please be this bad at lying when you are 15. Because she is REALLY bad at it. I try, even with a four year old, to keep the "lines of communication open", hoping against hope that she will be able to trust me to help her with her problems rather than deceive me about her life. This is one reason why I am OK with "tattling;" I see it as a way for her to be able to tell me what is wrong, rather than get the message to go away and figure out a solution on her own. Note: negotiating the teeny tiny annoyances kids have with each other is one of the most maddening aspects of parenting. I live in an area filled with really really smart people. My own father has PhD in organic chemistry, people. Who on earth could have studied chemistry for 10 entire years?? And so I have noticed friends, and more often, friends of friends really looking for signs of their child's brilliance. Not reading early is a cause for worry, even though preschool-aged kids gravitate more towards math than reading, and I feel a bit sorry for their kids, when the pressure to be "gifted" seems to be quite intense. Perhaps instead of looking for a kid that can read at 3, they should be looking at the proficient liar at 4. Someone once asked me if I thought Flipper was gifted. And I said no. She's just a regular kid. True giftedness is, in fact, very very rare. Flipper is what she should be: the bright child of two relatively bright, healthy people that went to college. End of story. So, I love the regular kid in her. And the very very bad liar.
OFF-TOPIC PICTURES BELOW

For Valentine's Day at The Cult, the kindergarten kids are to make a valentine for each of their classmates and their teachers. Make, not buy. This brings back so many fond memories of school for me; decorating the white paper bags, then taping the bag carefully to the edge of one's desk, or, even more fun, decorating a shoebox, then carefully cutting a mail slot in the lid before opening it to gather all those little white envelopes with the cartoon love-wishes on them. She is quite excited about it, and a trip to Michael's yielded her new favorite art supply: doilies. Remember those? Here she is at the heart table, working diligently away. She has to make 15 total, plus one for a friend in another class.



In an effort to feel happier (and how sad is it that retail therapy WORKS) I bought Flipper spring/summer clothes from one of my favorite children's clothiers (great word!), Mini-Boden. Here she is in the new skirt that caused her eyes to open wide and her voice to breathe, "I love it."


She is holding a fake gold coin she got during Elijah's birthday scavenger hunt. She is taking to school for "sharing", aka "show and tell."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Up up and away...

I have figured out something about parenting, something comforting. By the time your child is ready to do something new on their own, you are ready for them to do it, even though you couldn't imagine being so eager to let go of the reins just a few month's prior. I have mentioned the bittersweet sadness of your child growing up-and away-from you as a necessary evil; parenting is one of the only jobs in which success means you make yourself redundant. And so at every stage, when I attempt to imagine the future without Flipper's reliance on me for something, I imagine myself saddened to tears, missing it (and her) terribly. But when reality rolls around...I don't miss whatever "it" was at all. This might be what keeps me out of therapy or sobbing into a pillow when she flees the nest at 18. Or whenever. Some of you know that she nursed FOREVER (34 months) and believe me, had I not cut her off, she would still be happily doing so. I dreaded the loss of that nighttime sweetness...but when I finally said "last call" I missed it not for a second. Of course, doing it for perhaps TOO long is probably the best way to NOT miss something. Just a little "note to self" that I forget as often as I remember. Now she has reached a new milestone, something so great that I must share it. Friday night I met two friends and their children out for dinner before attending the "circus" performance of The Cult's high school students. Briefly: circus arts, juggling, tumbling, stilt-walking, dance, etc., are a part of Waldorf Education for many schools in the older grades, meaning middle school/high school. I am not going to go into why it is deemed important, but keep in mind that Waldorf is very into non-competitive movement for all ages, particularly activities that involve balance, rhythm, etc.
Now, moving on...there were three mothers and 4 kids, Flipper the youngest at 4.5 and Diana the oldest at 8. When we got to the pizza place, Robin had kindly (and brilliantly) snagged not a table for 7, but TWO tables, one for four people, and one for three, a move that made the waitress somewhat nervous. And so, you guessed it: a kid table and a grown-up table. The kids, as we hoped, were so excited to be "on their own" that they were perfect angels, much to the waitress's surprise. But how sad that her experience with kids eating out has been largely negative! And so she reaches what is admittedly a pretty small milestone in the grand scheme of things: the ability to eat out largely unsupervised, speak directly to the waitress, (something that would have been unthinkable a few short months ago), eat her food without making total chaos of the table or her lap, and generally be a bit more grown-up than she was before. And me? Why, no, I wasn't sobbing into my paper napkin, I was enjoying some adult-speak, which means "uncensored" with two fantastic friends. You know, being (for the most part) a grown up. It was easy to forget they were even THERE.



At any rate, the kids sat outside in quite chilly weather and watched a one-hour marionette show about Faust.


Faust!!

I thought I would die of boredom and cold, but they have much longer attention spans than poor ADD me, and even though the plot was unplottable, they were so excited to see the little people walking and talking that it held their attention.
Saturday afternoon Keith took her to The Carnivore Preservation Trust in Pittsboro to see the big cats that have been rescued from unfortunate circumstances and now live there, eating drumsticks off long poles and generally being admired by visitors. This is a worthy effort, and so consider this a little plug for some good people helping truly magnificent animals. Pictures below. Signing off now...




Jellybean the big white tiger

Thursday, February 7, 2008

In Which I Say Nothing...but post lots of pictures

My dad (Grampy) has built a man-hut for himself in my parent's backyard. Look how cute it is!!! Somewhat un-man-like, he wants to put window boxes with flowers on the side windows. Inside will be his workshop, as he is quite handy with fixing/making just about anything. A little room off the back will be Smokey's potting bench for her many many plants.


The Man-Hut

Next, some pictures of our home away from home, aka Wilson Park.


Jump!


Gorgeous Elijah (no, really, he is!!)


Spontaneous, adorable picnic conceived/executed by kids so us mothers could all keep running our mouths.


I dropped Flipper off yesterday afternoon in order to have dinner with a friend sans endlessly-interrupting-child. Here she is with Smokey and Skylar. They went riding and Smokey clipped Flipper's riding helmet under her chin too tightly, pinching the skin and causing a yucky bruise.


Skylar with his shaggy winter coat. He is 23 years old!! He is a rescue horse.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In another life

I get obsessed with some random (usually very random) topic, research it to death, which basically means staring at the computer and reading reading reading and then I abandon it, never to pick it up again. One of th ethings that fascinated me about my own child is wondering, "What will she get into as she grows up?" What hobbies, crafts, little weird things will she collect? It is impossible to tell, although I sense lots and lots of earrings in her future, when I finally allow her to pierce her ears. She must be 13, for anyone wondering. Kind of a coming-of-age, growing up thing to do. Or prehaps she will be like me, fair weather, fickle, flitting from one topic to next like a cute little hummingbird. Right now I am obsessed with my fantasy life: driving around America by myself in a medium-sized RV. It sounds like heaven. I have driven around America once, sleeping in the back of my old Volvo station wagon, and loved it. A trip I never wanted to end. So now I spend some time every day reading the journals of people that are all ready "full-timing" in RV-speak. There is so much to make fun of that I won't, since they will undoubtedly be my neighbors one day. But God, I love them. I love thier little taglines, like this: "Hi. We are Joe and Phyllis living our dream of seeing this great land of ours. We love entertaining others with our country music." I love them!! How great is that?? Now I must flee, but tomorrow will talk about and post pictures of my own collections, such as they are. Prepare yourself for this word: "worthless."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Back on the wagon

A friend forwarded a NYT article to me this morning. I read it avidly. Here is the link below; but bewarned: it is long.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/24/magazine/24princess.t.html?pagewanted=
1&ei=5088&en=8e5a1ac1332a802c&ex=1324616400&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Let me Clif-Note it for you: it is one mother's perspective about our culture's current obsession with all things "princess" for little girls, a marketing trend I have always found sickening and beyond irritating. I don't even know why I hate it so much, only that I do. And, even MORE irritating, Flipper is totally into all things pink, sparkly, glittery, pretty...just all of it. She spends hours, hours I tell you, obsessively brushing, braiding, fixing this bizarre creature's hair.



Hours that she could be spending doing...what? This I don't know. Note: Flipper's "head" is nowhere near as nice as this one. No, hers is smaller, came from Food Lion via my best friend and Flipper's de facto "Aunt" Jessica, and has fewer accessories. Flipper loves it. I say "it" because the lack of a torso/limbs has rendered it unnameable in our household. Interestingly, Flipper's Food Lion head is very Caucasion in the face, but her bare arms and shoulders are much darker, very Native American in tone, as a matter of fact. The whole thing is quite fascinating. I will try to take a picture and post the real thing soon. But back to the whole princess-thing: I was talking about my love of the Waldorf wooden toys with a friend at a birthday party, and she said something that I believe to be true...even though it won't change my actions at all.
"You know," she said. "I just don't think that in the long run it really matters what they play with; they'll grow up to be who they are no matter what we do." Deep down I think she's right: Flipper will end up her own person, doing her own thing, happy or not...regardless of the toys I buy or the revoltingly trashy princess dresses she wears with such joy. But here I diverge from her, and perhaps other mothers. I won't buy them, indeed, I won't "throw in the towel" because of one simple thing. It matters-a lot-to me. And while I CAN control what hse plays with, wears, watches...I will. But I no longer judge people who care less, or not at all.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Nothing much

Oh, it's been too long! FINALLY we are all better. Flipper back to her usual sparky self, and let me digress here to relate a tiny child-exploitation example. And a sick child, at that. For some reason, she quite resistant to taking medicine for a fever at night, preferring to huddle, sweaty and alternately hot and cold, under the covers all night long while she gets warmer and warmer and I get more and more freaked out. But last week I turned this to my advantage by placing the burning coals of her fever-ridden feet against my aching lower back. It felt incredible, better than any heating pad, and her hard little heels pressed most comfortably on the sore points of my back. After an hour or so I couldn't take it anymore and made her sit up and drink what is, frankly, pure sugar with a tiny bit of kiddie Motrin mixed in. But now she is back in school, happy to be surrounded by her little friends, and I am back at work, having missed two days myself. Yesterday was a great day in our neighborhood, the neighborhood that won't be mine much longer as we close on the townhouse the 26th of this month and then we move, yet again. Poor Flipper! I can't believe I am leaving the heavenly cul-de-sac, the huge yard, etc etc. But we are. Our great neighbors down the street set up a few tables outside yesterday and all the kids gathered to make messy peanut butter and birdseed covered pinecones for our feathered friends. The squirrels ran off with the ones Flipper made. And speaking of squirrels, I haven't seen Stumpy in 2 weeks now, but I have noticed he only shows up when the weather is ick. Right now the weather is fantastic. Lots of time outside today!!