Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ripple (in still water)

Small children, they can be deep. Very deep. Regular little philosophy PhD's, they are. I remember (vaguely) philosophy classes in college, where it was a popular subject with cool, pot-smoking professors. How we would pick apart Sartre, Nietzsche , Heidegger! Hours and hours of entertainment! But how did THEY get to be so well-known for commenting on the little things, making them larger and more important and, as a result, more depressing? But back to the wisdom of small children, often in the form of a question...that may be isn't really a question after all!!! On our walk yesterday, which should, perhaps, be more accurately renamed The Whinefest, since the entire 30 minutes it takes us to complete the loop with the dogs is accompanied by this:

(high-pitched whining child's voice) I don't want to go on a walk todaayyyy!!

(Gentle, kind adult voice) This is part of taking care of our pets. They need exercise every day. See how happy they are?

My legs hurt!!

Life is full of pain! Get used to it, and go away inside your head to your Happy Place!

It's too far/too cold/too steep/too long/too whatever!!

We're almost there!! (now voice touched with note of exasperation)

Why do we have to do thhiisss???


How quickly we (I) devolve. Anyway, after Flipper finally realized that I did, indeed, mean it when I told her that there would be no visit to the pool if the whining did not immediately cease and desist, we had a fairly pleasant time. We came to a wide, slow-moving part of Bolin Creek, and every day, at the exact same spot, there is a loud splash as something escapes into the water, fleeing our approach. Wisely, I might add. I thought it was a large frog, but I am no longer convinced this is the case. yesterday I saw a few bubbles, and ever-widening ripples, which makes me think it is something bigger.

Flipper silently registered the ripples as well, and several minutes later asked her "Deep Thought" question: "The small little waves in the water in a circle...what does it mean?"

Now, my answer could take one of many forms:

A Grateful Dead song, and why it was Rare, and yes, Mommy saw/heard it once. I think. Hard to rmeemebr those little details like set lists. OR

"The ripples are a reflection of the disruption of the water's surface tension..." OR

"The little waves are symbolic of how our actions affect those around us...let's talk about the butterfly and the death of a far-away star..." OR

"The ripples show humanity's interconnectedness with nature and how we are all One with the Universe..." OR (my personal favorite)

"They don't mean a damn thing."

No, I didn't actually say ANY of the above out loud, as I am nicer than that! No, really, I am!!

Instead, I tried to deduce what SHE meant (as opposed to the ripples). And what SHE wanted to know was what made them. Easy answer, though perhaps not quite as fun as the above.

In another example of Her Deepness, I asked her once, just for the hell of it, what happened to people when they die. I mean, isn't that the ultimate question, the biggie, the one most people think they have the answer to, but no one really does? I couldn't wait to hear her take on something that she has no concept of... I mean, it hardly stops the rest of us from having all the answers does it? Her response? "They go around and around the world and then come back again in someone else." Frankly, I found this a terrifyingly accurate description of reincarnation...something that us non-church-going Unitarians don't believe. No idea where she got that little piece of wisdom. Perhaps better NOT to know.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brief Beach Wrap-Up. And something funny...

Cannot resist sharing this typo with all of you...

Hey, Trader Joe's? Little "heads up" for your labeling folk...The "D" for "dried" should definitely come BEFORE the "T" for "tomato"...because "STD" has a very different connotation than "SDT"...

Beach great. Weather perfection, except for some icky Saturday morning rain and clouds. Birthday girl finally, finally, made it through a party for herself without hysterical sobbing.

Look at the color of that water!!

The birthday girl. I bought this dress at a thrift store, one I "share" with a fellow blogger-friend, Shanna. I bought it when Flipper was less than a year old, and thought that she would never ever get big enough to fit it. Well, time, as they say, flies. And so here is the dress, and the "baby" that fits it.

Giving the pinata quite the beating with her wooden sword.

Her new birthday t-shirt. Very appropriate for a beach birthday!!

Her "wow"-factor present. You may now refer to her as "Her Royal Frothiness".

Layer upon layer of froth. Needless to say, she loves it.

Pelican fly-over.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Brief Look Back...

The beach, it loometh. My boss just gave me his own secret directions to Emerald Isle, guaranteed to shave 4 miles off the trip. I kid you not. I follow them each time, because the directions do two things that are important to me: I avoid driving through Kinston, which is a stoplight hell, and I get out int he country, which I love driving through. So much more interesting!! I have many personal goals, most of which will never see the light of day, but one of them is to drive cross-country without getting on a freeway. This is more difficult out west than it is along the East Coast. At any rate, too much text lately and so some pictures today, of this same trip exactly 2 years ago. I look at her baby face, all plump-cheeked and curly haired, and miss it so much.

Bye bye, baby-face!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tired. And more tired.

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and was unable to fall asleep. I am now semi-conscious, propped up at wok, trying to stay awake until 12:30, when I can leave guilt-free and without looking like a terrible slacker. Oh, it is hard. I will forgo my planned trip to the library, and go home to nap for awhile before rousting myself and the damn dogs for a walk. Today Flipper stays at school until 3, then Keith picks her up and she stays with him until 5. They usually work on his garden, which is huge, together. I have managed, until today, to stay on my listed timetable of Things That Must Get Done. Birthday cake? Baked, wrapped, and frozen. dessert for 18 next Sunday night? Instead if stressing and trying to make some hideously complicated yet spectacular dessert, I spent about 3 minutes on the phone to Sugarland, placing an order for 3 quarts of tiramisu gelato, which will transported encased in dry ice to the beach, where it will be served after dinner with leftover birthday cake. I really, really, want to go to the library, and if not today, there will be no other chance this week to stock up before I leave for the beach. Once there, I will happily relinquish Flipper to the attentions of my mother, who seems to never get enough of her, and I will slump down in my borrowed beach chair and read and read and read. I think there should be a law that all vacation houses be stocked with tons of trashy books and magazines. The Bible in the hotel room bedside table just doesn't cut it, in my opinion. I am waiting for a second wind that isn't coming. So what did I do from 3:30 until 7:30, when I left for work? I wandered about, I read, I made the dough for a batch of cookies, I washed tons of dishes and the cake pans, I drank coffee, I read the paper. Then I got really really tired again, but it was 6:20 and thereby too late to get back under the covers. I cannot fathom, when this happens, two things:
1) How on earth do people with true, hardcore insomnia SURVIVE??
2) How on earth did I survive month after month of broken sleep due to Flipper's own sleep issues?

Monday, May 19, 2008

1. Post on blogger 2. Get back to work...

I am a huge list-maker type of person. I love to write them out, and I actually follow them. It is an ADD-coping mechanism, and my lists are so simplistic, they look as though they are written for a zombie. For example, this is what Saturday's list looked like. NOTE: I am not making it up or exaggerating.

1. Get up
2. Make coffee
3. Do dishes
4. Start laundry
5. Twig fundraiser/Wellspring (separate shopping list)
6. Meet Rose at Ayr Mount at 11:00
7. Home, rest.
8. Walk dogs
9. Think about supper.
10. Take Flipper to Sugarland. Get a menu from them.

I think you get the idea. I don't do a daily chore list like this every day, but I do weekly ones of tasks, all conveniently broken down into teeny tiny baby steps. It helps my addled, unable-to-focus brain actually get more accomplished than reading magazines and then looking up to discover that hours have flown by and nothing has been accomplished. This week is so busy, so crazy, that I have a Master list, written on card stock, that will stay in my pocketbook (the one I carry, not the one I drive) all week long. I found that this list-making is the best advice out of a whole bunch of advice about dealing with the day-to-day issues of ADD than anything else. I took the drugs, (Adderall, Ritalin, etc.) for awhile, but, frankly, it felt a bit too much like real drugs to me, and even though it helps immensely I still felt just different enough every day to not like it, so I quit before Flipper was a tiny lima bean inside me.

I pray, in my own atheistic way, that this is something she DOES NOT inherit. The only list she has is one that she thinks I am diligent about updating: it is a list of all the things she wants to get for her birthday or Christmas. Telling her to "put it on your list" has reduced the whining and begging in every store we go in IMMENSELY. I become easily irked at those "experts" that want to see ADD/ADHD as some sort of "gift" when the truth is that it is a whole lot of wasted potential and huge expenditures of energy with nothing to show for it at the end of the day, or month, or year. And then you look around and say, Wow. I have achieved nothing, gone nowhere fast OR slow, and probably never will. Quite a downer, actually.

So far, blessedly, Flipper seems to have inherited Keith's incredibly focused, methodical mind, as well as his passion for the details. Once, when I was painting our kitchen, he asked me if I was going to scrub the walls first. I looked at him as if he had suddenly grown an extra nose. Why would I do that?, I asked. I'm just going to paint over it. Poor Keith. For someone as methodical, as UN-in a hurry as he is, I was maddening to him. I am even quite maddening to myself. So it warms the beensy cockles of my heart when I lie on the couch for two hours or more, reading, reading, reading while Flipper sits at her "special area" (kid table and chairs and art supplies) drawing, drawing, drawing. We can stay that way, both of us perfectly content to NOT talk for an hour or more, although she very much wants me to be there in the same room with her, even though we aren't talking. We're just being. It is very, very sweet.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Shocking!! Or not.

I could write many, many entries on how and why I adore my best friend so much, but I won't. But here is one really, really big reason: she typically takes my advice, even when she doesn't ask for it. For someone like me, who loves to weigh in on pretty much anything but a scale, it is a dream come true, a match made in heaven!! I offer up marital advice, although I can't keep a guy around for more than 2 years or so, I offer parenting advice, even though she has boys and I have a girl and they are as different as "chalk and cheese." She refers to my house as "The tomb" and I think of hers as some sort of auditory hell. I offer it all up...and so often, bless her heart, she takes it. I still find this amazing!!

Anyway, she wanted me to write about my latest brainstorm, and I do so slightly reluctantly, and ask any readers out there to suspend judgement. Or, if it is less than laudatory, withhold it from me!! Since I am sensitive that way. Got that?

OK, here we go: her youngest, my godchild, will be 2 in mid-September. He is healthy, bright, and, as the saying goes, "into everything." He is also very very obsessed with the outlets, cords and plugs in their house. She spends a fair amount of time trying to keep him away from them, and he loves to unplug lights, TVs, appliances...anything he can get his little paws on. Much screaming and banging of head ensues when she tries to "redirect"- a parenting term I hate if there ever was one- and I am also the parent that didn't cover any outlets, never hid any poison, simply because Flipper never even gave closed cabinet doors or wall outlets a second glance. Somewhere I have a photograph of her standing, buck-naked in the dog's (full) water bowl, with a fully exposed outlet about 8 inches behind her. We covered them, but that DID get her attention, and her teeny fingers were able to quickly remove them.

Anyway, this issue Jessica has with Edward was utterly, utterly foreign to me. Did that stop me from offering up some pearls of wisdom? Of course not. It gave me a chance to have someone else use their child as a guinea pig-or lab rat, if you will-for one of my favorite parenting theories: when your kid is fascinated by something potentially dangerous, find a way for them to do it safely. Then, YOU can control it, and THEY have a means of not just getting it out of their system, but potentially learning something useful at the same time!! A win-win if I ever heard of it!! That's why I let Flipper burn every single piece if scrap paper she could find in my car when we were camping, in the belief/hope that it will keep her from sneaking around one day with a pack of matches in her hand.

Anyway, what I suggested-and she followed- was this: get something like power strip and a short electrical cord that is HIS, and his alone. Let him carry it around, plug and unplug to his little heart's content. If he approaches the wall outlets, or lamp cords, whatever, tell him to go get HIS plug and cord. So Jessica, great parent that she is, rummages around in their garage and finds some sort of lamp cord that can be plugged into itself, and gives it to him. And for the first time in a few months, her morning/afternoon/evening isn't ruined by telling him "no", prying his hands off a cord, and his ensuing wails of anger and frustration. THAT scenario has been repeated about a million times a day for the past 3 months, and he continued to try and get to the plugs. And now...power struggle over. Done. I must get her to take a picture of him with his new toy. But that's the point, it ISN'T a toy, because I think children want REAL things, and if possible, I say make a way for themto have them. They are more fascinated with a real cell phone than some sort of plastic, primary-colored one.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Birthday Explanation Part 2.

So. Back to the sea horse pinata, and Flipper's birthday in general. As I mentioned, she took the Build-A-Bear shut-down quite well. An afternoon with her best friend, being spoiled by me and allowed a fair amount of freedom (go play away from me NOW) seems to have done the trick!!The morning after her little party of two is her precious birthday celebration at school. Why no, we AREN'T allowed to bring in cupcakes. We, the parents, bring some sort of fruit salad, which I will, in my infinite capacity to justify sheer laziness, purchase at a hideously inflated cost from Wellspring. There will be a cake sweetened with applesauce and cinnamon. Note: Flipper hates the birthday cakes there. The teacher will tell a precious story about the day she came to earth, and "chose" Keith and I as her parents (although I think most kids would choose parents that would actually stay TOGETHER) and the other children will each color a picture of a flower inside a blank book for her. Yes, with those blocky rectangular beeswax crayons. Because they are crazy that way!
Then, hopefully, we will leave for the beach, Flipper and me. This bi-annual beach trip is something I don't regularly take part in, because it is basically a large house party with my parents and all of their friends, 6 couples in all. They have been doing this since 1971. I was 3 at the first trip there!! So these people have seen me and my sister grow up. I even work for one of them now, a man that used to watch us run around naked on Topsail. At any rate, I have been to Emerald Isle with Flipper only a few times she was born, even though my mother begs and begs, pays for us to go, etc. Why wouldn't I go? Well, I find it stressful, I dislike feeling as though I have to be The Perfect Parent every single minute, and I don't like house parties, unless it is a group of my friends. And even then I would stress about it. This year, however, she is going to get her way and we will be there. 5 years ago Flipper was born on Memorial Day Sunday, May 25. And this year the 25th falls on another Memorial Day Sunday. When she was born they were all at the beach, as we told no one we were in labor until it was all over. So it is special (to me) to have some sort of repeat of that experience 5 years ago, with Flipper there. A repeat devoid of 42 hours of hard labor. We are going to have a small party that Sunday afternoon, with 3 other little girls that belong to another couple, and my very best friend's two children, because she will be at their condo in Atlantic Beach. We will have pizza (organic, of course), limeade with cherries and umbrellas, play Flipper's current favorite game (even though she is extraordinarily bad at it) Red Light GreenLight. We mix it up a bit by adding Yellow Light, which means run faster than ever, we will mangle the pinata, from which will spill forth little toys and fake jewels but no candy, and I will make, for the third year in a row, this cake*:

Cake two years ago. Ironic, is it not, that I ban Barbie dolls but will purchase this frightful thing? Especially considering that she actually has no legs, but a long, flesh-colored stabby thing instead. These are called Doll Picks. She, (no surprise) loves them. I, (no surprise) take them away after a day or two on the grounds that the stabby thing is dangerous. She, blessedly, falls for it every time.
Cake last year, for her Hawaiian-themed luau party. She cried about 30 times. But the cake was great!
*For anyone wondering, the cake is baked in a Pyrex mixing bowl, which is how you get the domed shape. Then the doll is added, and the whole thing is frosted/decorated. Yes, the doll actually comes naked, and her bra/dress bodice is frosting. I use the chocolate cake recipe from the back of the Hershey's Cocoa tin, as it makes an extremely yummy dense, rich chocolate cake that holds up well for travel, decorating, etc. It also freezes well. This year I will bake it ahead of time, transport it down there and decorate it the day for the party. Then I will take a million pictures and put them on the blog!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

She'll Cry if She Wants To...

I just ordered a sea horse pinata for Flipper. You know, while at "work." Every year, without fail, I make all sorts of promises to myself (and others) that This Year Will Be Different. That I won't spend money or get all crazy for her birthday. And every year, without fail, some bizarre, latent, Martha Stewart-ish monster rears it's ugly head and I become crazed. And spend money. I was at a luncheon recently with a group of mothers and one mentioned that her son had been given a FISH for a party favor at a recent part. The ENTIRE TABLE recoiled in horror. Except me. I offered it a home in our bubbling tank, and then was informed that it is a "fighting fish" and would therefore KILL my fish. I think they call them betas? Except they SHOULD be called alphas!! A piece of me totally got it, I mean really, who wants to take care of one more thing but ANOTHER piece of me tipped an invisible hat to the the fish-dispensing mommy. I'm a traitor to all mommies everywhere!! I'm sorry!!

So. Back my party woes. The truth is, this is yet one more thing that I thought I would LOVE providing for my little darling BEFORE she turned 3. And, as so often happens, the reality is so much more unattractive. Flipper likes to go to parties a great deal...but when they are for her, well, it just doesn't work out so well. She dislikes being the center of attention, she wants me to hod her so she can bury her face in my neck, and she is too young to grasp that Mommy Has Hostessing Duties that are calling her. Calling her LOUDLY. We have yet to have party for her in which she doesn't cry. So this year, I said (just to myself) "Nope. Not happening." Flipper, who had been entertaining fantasies (emphasize word "fantasy") of a Build-A-Bear party handled the smack-down of her party dreams pretty well. The brutal truth is that she wants presents a lot more than she wants a party. She still plays with her best friend at school, she prefers that one-on-one thing more than a large crowd. So this is what I am going to do. Next Thursday I am going to pick Flipper and her best friend Izzy up from school at lunchtime. Typically, bot girls stay for the "nap" program, which lasts until 3 pm. Then we are going here:

where the girls can pick out pretty much anything they want to paint, since I am paying for two kids, and not 10.

After that, we'll go either here: or here: where they can get all jacked up on sugar and giggle and whisper to their little hearts' delight. Then I will transport them to either our house to play, or to a playground before delivering Izzy back to her mom. Note that there is no mention of the sea horse pinata making an appearance...because it's not. Why? Tomorrow.
Flipper and Izzy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother/Child Day (at least at our house)

Flipper spent all of Mother's Day blissfully unaware that it was SUPPOSED to be all about ME, and thought instead that it was all about HER. I was actually okay with the little present-grubbing monkey; I don't really "get" Mother's Day at all. There was an article in N&O about the woman that started Mother's Day at her church in West Virginia (I think). Anyway, she ultimately came to loathe the crass commercialism that we seem to inflict upon ANY holiday, chiding people for buying cards instead of writing letters, etc. etc.
For a little "compare and contrasting"...well, Mother's Day has become huge. I am rather surprised at all the ads that come out before Mother's Day; I cannot think of one kid I know that can afford to buy their mother jewelry, a vacation, a new camera...The problem with Mother's Day is that it is supposed to be about your child magically appreciating YOU and all that you do for them. But guess what! They CAN'T because they have no perspective! Because they're kids!! So it falls to others to "appreciate" you...or it requires that you simply wait until they have kids of their own, and then the appreciation comes (hopefully) rolling in. And while I am certainly not rejecting the beautiful flowers my sister sent me, I don't expect anything from Flipper, besides a good day together. We achieved that lofty goal by having a bit of a "yes" day. Yes, we can go out for breakfast together, yes, you can get a new pad of drawing paper, why, yes, you can even have icky fried chicken for lunch. And, perhaps best of all for Flipper, she got one of her brithday presents early, something she has been clamoring for for several weeks now, these:
Stockmar block beeswax crayons. They make great swaths of color across the page, don't break, and are used at her school. She was THRILLED. So, yes, it was a bit of a facer, giving HER a present, but it was an icky rainy day, after all. Then we went for walk in the rain, saw a beautiful box turtle, watched it for a few minutes, then returned home for more drawing. She wants to be an artist when she grows up. I can't really imagine braving the throngs of happy graduates and their parents at the local restaurants for Mother's Day, althoguh we did go out for Thai food with my mom that evening. I always give her an orchid for Mother's Day, and often for her birthday as well, which proves my point: I am a lot more appreciative of her NOW than I was when I was 8, and burnt toast in bed was about all we could scrape up. And she loves burnt toast.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hail Tale

Late Friday night, actually, early early Saturday morning, the dogs began freaking out. While Sophie, aka "The Idiot" hates thunder and trembles pathetically, Seamus, the other dog, has never been bothered by storms, or, really, much of anything. I, the Lightest Sleeper in the Universe, immediately woke up and waited apprehensively for something, anything, to happen. When I lived in Colorado our dogs woke up one night and began howling. We were mystified, and annoyed, until we heard a rapidly approaching rumbling noise that shook the house then faded away up the valley. Just like you read about, they knew an earthquake was coming. And last Friday, they knew that a crazy, 5-minute hail storm that sounded like our townhouse was being machine-gunned was approaching. It rattled even me, who generally loves extreme weather, thunder, lightning, etc. I was afraid to walk under the skylights (there are 5 in my townhouse), even though Rational Mommy knew they wouldn't shatter. Actually, make that HOPED they wouldn't shatter, and when it was over I went out on the deck to see huge, 2-3" pieces of jagged ice. Idiotically, I neglected to toss a few in the freezer for Flipper to see when she woke up. I almost woke her during the storm To Experience Nature, but wisely thought better of it.
After all, this is a kid that has a hard time rousing herself after 12 hours of sleep for school.!! So a three hour "nap" at night wasn't going to cut it.

Why did I even entertain the thought of a midnight science lesson? A tiny wish to recapture a good, very good, childhood memory of mine. When I was young, we lived in a small subdivision on Hwy. 54. Down the hill and across the creek behind out house was a large field with cows in it. We played there endlessly. One night, my parents woke us up and took us down to the field with a blanket so we could watch the heat lightning that springs up so often in the summer. We lay there for an hour or more, while my scientist dad probably told us how lightning develops, etc etc and my mom told us some terrifying ghost story, a remnant from her camp counselor days. Our dog, a jet-black doberman named Taine, managed to run directly into the side of a large, jet-black COW that was standing, practically invisible, about 20 feet away from us. Much pawing of the ground and stamping of the large hoof followed. We left. And I still remember it more than 30 years later.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mixed Bag

Things that make me sad...

Leaving my vacuum cleaner HERE yesterday. Early estimate: 100 dollars PLUS to fix.

Things that make me happy...

The literal fruits of Flipper's labor.

My new, GREEN deck furniture set...(that I assembled in only 90 minutes EVEN THOUGH the directions promised that it would only take me 35 AND only screamed and cursed twice in that time-span!!)

Flipper diligently prepping asparagus for roasting...Oven 425. Asparagus: trimmed. Put on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Shake salt and pepper on top. Roast for 7 minutes or so. Incredibly good.
Keith chasing Flipper while hooping with my big huge hula hoop. Really, impressive athleticism all the way around!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Last of May Day (I promise)

I am off to write something original for next week's-actually, 2 weeks away-N&O/website column. Or feature. Or blog entry. Whatever. Flipper's school had it's annual May Day celebration on Saturday. I know I already posted pictures of the kindergarten/nursery May Pole activity last week, but these pictures are so sweet, I just can't resist. Look at the incredibly beautiful basket weave pattern that the ribbons make on the pole. This is a more complicated dance performed by the older kids.
Flipper tries on her flower-wreath.

Arriving at the pole, led by flute players.

Flipper and her best friend. I love this picture!!

Dancing 'round the Pole

Holding the ribbon...

In and out and over and under results in...

THIS is what you get!! Look how beautiful it is!!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Yesterday I braved the wilds of downtown Raleigh, which was no small feat for someone that actually grew up in Durham, and has been to Raleigh less than 40 times in her whole life. I fear getting lost, and when I am in charge of the world, THERE WILL BE NO ONE-WAY STREETS. ANYWHERE. At any rate..Flipper and I went to Memorial Auditorium to see Riverdance. I kid you not. My old neighbor just emailed me, to laugh at me through the email!!!! Is it cheesy? Well...perhaps, although you could probably say that about most live performances. So. Reflections on Riverdance. It was LOUD. Their tippity tappity clickety clackity little dancing Irish feet were much much louder than I expected them to be. Parts were kind of slow, but most of it was pretty amazing, that they can tap like that.

Flipper was disappointed that this guy wasn't performing: How did she even know about him? Well, from the DVD we own, a documentary about Riverdance. So she knew the order of performances at the show yesterday, and was quick to feed me little tidbits about what was happening, like when the chorus came out on the darkened stage carrying candles and singing and she leaned over and stage-whispered, "Know what they're holding? CANDLES!!" Um, thanks, Flipper. I can't figure out if the fact that she knew about it beforehand was a good or bad thing; did it contribute to her enjoyment of the show, or detract from it? I think a little of both: She loved knowing what was going to happen next, but nothing was a big surprise.

Flipper was also pretty well-behaved throughout the whole thing, only restless during the music solos. She really just likes to see people dance. Now, of course, she wants to take tap dancing lessons. I was all set to say yes, when she asked, "Do the kids get the dresses like the girls in the show?" After a boring, ten-minute lecture on How-It-Isn't-The-Dress-That-Is-Important, she managed to stick to her guns, convinced that she wants to learn how to tap dance. Me: undecided. I feel like she is too young (and in school for enough hours already) to really want to add another thing to her schedule, such as it is. It is hard to wait wait wait for things, when much of the world around you is yelling go go go!! But I don't think kids need, or really want, a lot of scheduled classes and activities, and yet it is fun, and one of the ways in which we are so lucky, to be able to provide our children with so many varied opportunities for learning and exploring. So we'll see. Might try to talk her into Skipsations instead!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Spring Innocence

Flipper's class. There have been 6 new kids added since last October!! Look at their adorable, handmade (by the teacher's) felted flower "crowns".

Flipper and her teacher skipping around the May Pole.

May Pole in action. Long, gorgeous, satin ribbons.

Flipper preparing for the dance.

Yesterday I fled work early (blessedly) and went to watch Flipper dance about the May Pole at the school. It was beyond precious; all the children looked so innocent in their white clothes with their little felted flower headbands. One of the big "things" with Waldorf Education is the connection made to traditions and rituals throughout the year. May Day is one of these, as is Michaelmas in the fall, the Lantern Walk and the Spiral of Light. Tomorrow we will go to the school for an all-school celebration of music, dancing, and a picnic. The older students and high schoolers execute much more complicated May Pole dances; weaving the ribbons down the pole in beautiful "woven" patterns. More pictures on a Riverdance update!! Have a good week-end!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Bobcat

Flipper made a full recovery from her intensely whiny, easily-annoyed state of being to...oh, wait that was ME that was easily annoyed. So very often in life I learn and relearn the same lesson over and over and over again. There must be some sort of psychological name for it. It think it is idiot. Why was poor Flipper freaking out, whiny and sad and miserable? Why, for the very same reason she was whiny and crying when she was 6 months old...because she was TIRED. I can never "get" this; that 99% of her problems and high-strung crying fits always always always boil down to two causes: hunger and/or exhaustion. The night after her "awful day" (her words) she slept from 7:40 at night until 7:15 in the morning. As a result, yesterday was heaven. She was full of energy, happy as a little clam. We took a walk after school, then returned to our old neighborhood to have dinner with Rose and Seamus and Baby Ronan. The kids were fantastic, she and Seamus played together without requiring any refereeing, Ronan was content and plump and cuddly...blah blah blah. After supper we went out to the street so Keith (Flipper's dad) could give them rides in his new favorite, albeit temporary "toy".

Gorgeous, no? Can you not smell the testosterone from here? The official Bobcat website actually has this tag line: It's not the size but what you can do with it. Well, what KEITH is doing with it is tearing up the back yard, pushing small trees over, and generally enjoying himself immensely. Seamus was scared during his ride, as the thing is incredibly loud, and Flipper liked it only about 5% more than Seamus did. But then...I DROVE IT UP AND DOWN AND AROUND THE STREET!!! It was great. It was a very very Free To Be You And Me moment. Does any other child-of-the-70's remember the book and album besides me? My fourth grade class actually put the whole book on as a play, complete with all the songs. I look back at that as rather incredible. Somewhere, Marlo Thomas and Gloria Steinham are smiling.

Anyway, the thought of me driving it caused Flipper some sort of gender-defying consternation; she didn't want me to, thought something would happen. What she REALLY meant was, You can't drive that, only Daddy can. Wrong, Missy!! Mommy drove a front-end loader once in Colorado from the warehouse up and down a dirt road, closely supervised by one of the maintenance guys. So when this opportunity opened...I just had to take it.