Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Parenting:  The kind of job where the reward for dealing with an hour of the harrowing "gotta get to school" morning routine plus extreme tantrum is the chance to clean your living room in peace.  And it seems like a good deal.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mini-me: Photography Edition

Charlotte learned how to use the auto-focus on our camera, and is making some really interesting photographs.  I can't wait for her to get her own camera!  I know that her aunt & uncle got her one for Christmas.  Charlotte has been copying me and documenting our projects, and I think it will be really interesting to see what she chooses to photograph.

I look.....drunk.

This picture makes me think of "The Blair Witch Project."

dirty face.

cat food.  in sharp focus.

Monday, December 12, 2011

QOTD: Circular logic is circular.

Charlotte:  Just wait until they see me at school.  They are going to thinking I look cool.

Mama:  Why?  What do you think makes this outfit look cool?

Charlotte:  Because I look cool.

Friday, December 2, 2011

from this summer, tweaked slightly.

My daughter is singing a song she made up. The refrain is, "I love being a priiiinnncesss!" Complimenting her song skills through teeth gritted at the subject matter.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What has Charlotte been doing this long weekend? Perfecting her fake burp. Pretty sure it's my fault. I showed her how to "burp" a baby last wk.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today marks the first time Charlotte said elephant correctly, on her own, on the first try (and the second and third). RIP "effelant."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bucking the system.

I sent Charlotte to get dressed this morning, and she put a tee shirt and leggings on over her pajamas. "See, Mama?  Tonight I just take this off, and then my pajamas are on!"  She was very impressed with herself.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Charlotte, the singer/songwriter.

This past weekend, the northeast was pummeled by a weird October Nor'Easter, dumping maybe a foot of heavy wet snow on our town.  Power was out for 24 hours (and we are the lucky ones) and school has been out for three days.  Charlotte's schedule was thrown out of whack, and she was feeling a great deal of non-specific anxiety.  It was manifesting as concern for Virgil, the cat.  She was worried that he was feeling scared.  Matt joked that if Virgil was upset he would sing him "Soft Kitty."

Charlotte liked it, but instead of singing "Soft Kitty" herself, she made up her own song.  She then wrote it down on a piece of paper, so that Matt would know the words, too.  She handed it to him and said, "I can't write words so I just wrote zig-zags.  You read it!"

Matt convinced her that he could not read zig-zags, and I told her that I would write it down for her.  Now on its third incarnation, I wrote it out in magenta crayon on a piece of scrap paper, and Charlotte is so proud, you wouldn't belive it.  So, without further ado, here is Charlotte's Song For Making Cats Feel Less Nervous:

Don't worry, Kitty.
Zig-zag you.  Pum.
I'll come to help you, Kitty.
Zig-zag you.  Bim.
Don't worry, Kid.
Hmm?  I have a clue!
Plumber, searchy ray -
Zig-zag you.
All done!
Kitty, don't worry.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hanging out w/ my mini-me. Watching Decemberists on Austin City Limits. I'm working, she's crafting, we're both singing along.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ahh, the three-vaccines-at-once backlash. Whining, crying & general carrying on. We expect fever and more tears on Monday. But if it results in no flu or polio, I'm cool with it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

In a follow-up to my last post, I wanted to add that we did, in fact, go to church this past weekend.  When the priest started talking about God, Charlotte leaned over to her dad and stage-whispered, "God! I know God! Mom and I talked about God!"  So clearly it made some sort of impression.  She was much more interested in what her cousin was doing than what the priest was talking about, though.  I can live with that.  Though I can cross, "Priest quotes 'Auntie Mame'" off my bucket list.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Theology 101

After pretty much avoiding the topic for 4 years, I decided to give Charlotte a quick run-down on some uber-basic Christian dogma.  Matt is Catholic in name, but uncomfortable with Catholicism in general, and I'm kind of vague on most religious topics.  I am very well-read and well-researched, but I am culturally somewhat Christian with some pagan/Buddhist leanings.  I am, however, a HUGE fan of Jesus, so that keeps me as kind of a lowercase "c" Christian.  Organized religion in general drives me nuts, because it tends to lose what I love about religion (love your fellow man! communicate directly with God!) and hammers home what I don't like(don't trust yourself, you must to through clergy to talk to God! women can't lead! hypocritical hierarchies! corruption!).  The majority of our family is pretty Christian, though, and pretty Catholic, too.

So during snack time I hit some major talking points - we believe that God is a loving and protective (and I may have said "magical" - I have my reasons) spirit who watches over us.  I said that God is powerful, and while we can't see God, God is always there.  I did point out that we often call God "He" or "Him" because it's easier, but God isn't a person.  I told her that when we ask good for help, or celebrate him, or offer him thanks, it's called praying.  And that when you are very happy, you can feel God in your heart, or if you are lonely, you can ask God to help you in your heart.  I threw in that we believe that when you die, you get to go to be with God in heaven, and that he will keep you safe there forever, and you can be with all your loved ones that die before you.  I asked her if she remembered when we talked so much about Jesus at Christmas, and told her that God sent Jesus to be with Mary and Joseph, and to be born as a baby.  Jesus was sent to teach us to love each other, and to be kind to everyone, and to help others when we can, and to learn how to forgive.  To forgive is to say, "I'm sorry," and "It's okay."  (Charlotte pointed out that those are the rules for pre-school, and I said, "Exactly!")

This was a big whammy of information, and while Matt thought that she would probably ask me a million questions, my theory was that she would kind of brush it all off and move on, while it percolated in the background.  And that seems to be what happened.  She mentioned Littlefoot's mom (a dinosaur that dies in The Land Before Time, and the first instance that Charlotte really started grasping "death") once, and wanted to know if God dies.  (Well, honey, there is this guy named Nietzsche....)  But that was pretty much it.  I expect her to lay something wildly inaccurate and inappropriate on her grandmother this weeked (capital C CATHOLIC) because that is the way these things work.

Oh, Charlotte did have one other profound connection to make.  "I know God!  And Jesus!  It's like when you say 'golly geez.'  That's God."

Crap.  I guess she really did grasp the whole taking-his-name-in-vain thing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oblivious Mom moment.

As I was getting Charlotte ready for school yesterday, I was going around in circle trying to decide whether to put her in her raincoat (waterproof but not warm) or her hoodie (warm but not waterproof).  Around and around I went on this, finally deciding to send her in her sweatshirt, because she wasn't going to be outside for that long at recess, and I'm sure she wouldn't soak through in 15 minutes.

I pulled into the parking circle at school and as I pulled Charlotte out of the car, I realized that I could have just put her in her winter coat - both warm AND waterproof.  DUH, Mom. 

I put her in her winter coat today, and, of course, it was sunny & gorgeous at school today.  Whatever, I will take credit for the beautiful blue sky today just by Murphy's Law.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Waiting for the other shoe....

I haven't really posted about the whole preschool transition thing for two reasons:  as usual, I am totally swamped with work & life AND it has gone so smoothly that I'm waiting for it to suddenly be more like I expected.  (I am furiously knocking on wood, throwing salt over my shoulder and biting my tongue as I type this, by the way.)

The first drop-off, I kind of hovered for 5 minutes, but Charlotte was totally nonchalant.  When I kissed her and said that I was going she was like, "Uh-huh," and kept investigating the kitchen/real life play area.  Whatever that's called.  I explained to her that I'd be back soon, and that her little pony was in her backpack if she needed something from home to cuddle.  "Bye, Mom," she said.

It's been like that every day.  She's not into transitions, which took me by surprise, but shouldn't have.  I'm the same way.  I lament and worry and freak-out into the lead up to a big change.  (And so did Charlotte.)  And then when the time comes, rip off that damn band-aid!  So while I was sort of surprised that Charlotte was shoving me out the door, I probably shouldn't have been.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Twas the Night Before Preschool...

preschool supplies - tiny buddy from home, extra clothes, a million papers, snack money

Charlotte and I were talking at bedtime, and she said she's a little scared about starting preschool tomorrow.  "Why?" I asked.  "What are you scared about?"

"Well," she said.  "I'm scared that what if I am dressing up and I dress up like a scary monster and all the kids run away and I'm a scary pirate and I say 'Argh!' and all the kids hide?"

"You could try not dressing up like a scary monster.  Like, maybe try to think if what you are going to do or say might be scary to kids, so then don't do it," I suggested unhelpfully.

"What if I go to the dress up clothes and put on a scary bear costume and growl at kids?  And then they all run away and get in their cars and go home and then the teacher comes and it's just one kid, and I push back my bear hood and she says, 'Where is my class? Where are all the kids?' and I just say, 'I don't know?'"

Ummm.....I think someone is a little nervous about making friends tomorrow.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

QOTD - Mama's a good cooker

"This burger is SUPER AWESOME!"

burger = crispy tofu, with cheddar cheese and bacon on a hamburger roll, with a little honey mustard.  She asked for it again today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

One of my earlierst memories is of waiting out a tornado in a basement....

So, this happened today.  Earthquake 5.9 in Virginia, felt all the way up and down the East Coast.

Here's what I posted on Facebook:

I felt that! Charlotte was "napping" and said, "What just happened?"
True story: At first I thought that I might have been passing out because the couch was shaking, and I thought it was me. Then I noticed the light fixture swaying and heard the bedroom door rattling in its frame and wondered if the upstairs neighbors were having a party. THEN I realized it was an earthquake.
And then Charlotte dragged out one of her books and opened it up to the page that said, "...the whole house began to shake..." and pointed that line out to me & Michelle. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

cell phone picture dump

evening walk

making a "nest" from clay & pine needles

as a family, we suck at skee ball

not really playing - she can't reach the pedals

taking bitty for a walk

Charlotte of Green Gables

waiting for hot dogs at Tom's Long Dog

making spider webs

making pizza

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The other side of almost 4.

A lot of people talk about "the halfs" being the worst - for example, it's not the terrible twos, it's the terrible two-and-a-halfs.  Three is great, but three-and-a-half is hard.  Charlotte loosely follows that, but I would go so far as to say that it's not really every six months, but just every now and then we go through a really rough patch.  The benefit of having an almost 4 year old, and a blog, is that I can remind myself of how it happens and how we come through on the other side.

Another thing that gets talked about is how there's always a backslide before a growth spurt or intellectual leap.  Again, that's something we've seen for ourselves, too.  (I don't know what to call this "people say" thing - it's not quite an old wives' tale, or common knowledge, or whatever, but it's just a thing.  As the Dothraki would say, it's just "It is known.")  I'm hoping that Charlotte is building up to something, because here's what the last week has been like:
  • At Gavin's birthday party this weekend, she had a really hard time understanding "No" and "Those are Gavin's presents."  She did fine with this at the last few birthday parties we went to, so it could be party fatigue, or something different.
  • Charlotte has fallen on her face more in the last week than in the last 6 months.  
  • Sleep issues.  She was up for 4 hours in the middle of the night last night, and up at 8:30 am this morning.
  • Increased arguing and "talking back."
This is all a phase, this too shall pass, etc, etc.  It makes me feel better, though, to find a pattern and reassure myself that this is all going on with a purpose.  Charlotte's impulses are wacky because her body is changing or her brain is processing, and our girl will come out on the other end, in a month or so, and blow us away with what it means to be the parents of a four year old in pre-school.

almost 4

Friday, July 15, 2011


Miss Drama is off at her grandparents for the weekend, but I'd like to note this from the other day.  One of the things our very wordy daughter does is to make up stories almost constantly, and narrate herself.  Some of it is cooking show type stuff when she's playing in the kitchen.  "And now you add the carrots and the ginger.  Smell that ginger!"  And some of it is trying to talk her way out of something.  "I was just blowing bubbles in my milk.  Boys and girls like to blow bubbles in their milk."  The other night was particularly hilarious.  Well, the overall situation was not hilarious; Charlotte was pushing every single button she knows how to push with her Daddy, and that is saying a lot.  Stubbornly refusing to listen or clean up, she ended up getting all sorts of things taken away - no stories at bed time, no extra toys in bed, no outside play time.  When it was finally bed time and her room was clean, Matt rocked her in the rocking chair for a few minutes, and she narrated the whole thing to herself, out loud.

"And tears were rolling down her cheeks....because she would never have her toys, ever again."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Daddy gets in a Quote of the Day

I knew Matt & Charlotte hadn't left to go to the grocery store yet, but it was so quiet that I couldn't imagine what they were doing.  I tracked them to Charlotte's room, where Matt was sitting in the rocking chair and Charlotte was on the footstool, and he was trying to braid her hair.  I stifled a giggle, and ducked out of sight.

"What are you laughing at?" called Matt.

"Nothing.  Well, the look on your face while you're braiding her hair - overwhelmed, but kinda determined."

"That?" said Matt.  "That's a 'Parent Face.'"

Friday, July 8, 2011

When you are almost 4 years old, carnivorous dinosaurs don't eat other dinosaurs. Oh no indeed. They eat from "meat patches" that turn up on the ground.

A few more pictures from June.

Sometimes Charlotte still naps.
But not without creating catastrophe first.

A Cars tableau.  Complete with Lightning McQueen in the top bunk.

Charlotte's nursery.

The Girlie-fication of my daughter


C wearing her "friendship necklace" from J & B

Packed for Grammy's.  All those bags are full of blocks.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Midsummer Update

Charlotte facts:

In an effort to sound authoritative, she sometimes says, "Boys & girls need X," or "Boys and girls want more Y."
She tells Matt, "cut it out" when he sings along with things.
She has an invisible imaginary herd of "brothers & sisters"
She cries when it's time to leave the pool.
She can spell STOP and GO with her alphabet magnets
She is *so* into the hobbit right now.
Every time we go to the library we get a book on the ocean/seashore/shells/creatures
She loves books on tape, we think she's trying to teach herself how to read
Finally started playing with "babies"
Can (mostly) get herself dressed & put on her velcro shoes. (Matt got her the right socks, ankle socks, instead of her regular Old Navy & Carters crew socks.)

Copied from my Facebook status:
6/28 - Things that happened today: I made a tutu for a barbie and my kid pirouetted to Tchaikovsky.
6/28 - ...and we just had our first instance of barbie alteration. I caught Charlotte coloring Barbie's hair with a marker. She's in trouble because we only color on paper, but I can't fault her argument. "I didn't want her hair to be golden like Rapunzel anymore. I wanted it to be red or purple."
6/26 - I heard Charlotte's door open this morning and went over and said, "Good morning, baby, how are you?" 

The first words out of Charlotte's mouth this morning were, "You speak very well."
6/26 - Charlotte, on watching a tiny bit of a football movie - "Football is like Angry Birds. They crash into people like Angry Birds. And pigs. And they are mad."
6/25 - Nice morning running errands together, along with an imaginary, invisible Rapunzel. At one point, Charlotte was trying to hold my hand, hang on to her teddy bear, and hold Rapunzel's hand, too. I pointed out that Rapunzel is 18 years old and capable of crossing a parking lot by herself.
6/21 - Charlotte is greatly enjoying Flock of Seagulls "I Ran (So Far Away or Whatver The Hell My Title Is You All Know Which One I Mean)." It has spurred a request for "rock and roll that makes my hair shake." Nice.
6/20 - Today's too ambitious for Monday project: Charlotte is making a spider web with Elmer's Glue & yarn
6/19 - About to take Charlotte on a firefly hunt! In the car - there are no good fields within walking distance & a sidewalk. (Also, I don't think she has any more room on her wee little body for mosquito bites.)
6/14 - Charlotte keeps saying, "I need to get to Paris!" She's also already packed for a weekend at Grammy's - 4 tote bags of blocks and a purse full of woodland creatures. I wonder if she's confused...
6/13 - Charlotte wants a CD player that plays records. She just showed me a catalog with the "vintage" Fisher Price record players, and pointed to it. "I want the CD player that plays those CDs, like Lilo."
6/13 - Charlotte is *very* into wearing dresses lately. It's not a girlie thing - it's a "no pants" thing. She finally realized there's a workaround.


Monday, June 13, 2011

How an Impromptu Hippie Jam Band Saved My Monday

Man, I suck at Mondays.  And they aren't Charlotte's best days, either.  We had kind of a busy family weekend, which was good, but we didn't have nearly as much outside time or family play time as I would have wanted, and that means Mondays are rough.  Charlotte wants me to play with her, I am trying to drag my butt to the desk to get some work done, and that laundry isn't going to wash itself.  (Yes, I have turned into the kind of person who has to think about laundry.  Sucks, a bit.)  After a long miserable day, Matt got home later than I wanted him to (but as soon as the bus could get him here) and I was snapping at him and he was arguing with Charlotte, and these dang kids were playing guitar out our window, and then suddenly Matt and I were grinning and joking.

Matt said, "You know what Hampshire really ruined for me?"

I replied, "Impromptu hippie jam bands?"


I know I've mentioned it before, (I think I'm gonna have to go back and tag entries) but Matt and I both attended, and didn't graduate from, Hampshire College.  Hampshire is a liberal liberal arts college, small & full of artists, hippies, hipsters, film students, photographers, tech geeks, theatre people, gamers, geeks, nerds, and anyone else who would want to go to a small school without grades that can't offer you a lot of financial aid.  One of the things that I think is prevalent at some schools, but EPIDEMIC at Hampshire is informal drum circles, hippies jamming on the quad, and random people singing while someone dances.  (There were also breakdancers whipping out ghetto blasters and squares of linoleum, when I was there IN 1997.)  I spent 2 years full time at Hampshire, and let me tell you, I have heard my share of impromptu jams.  And the people who were playing outside my window today could have cribbed the setlist from any of them.  It was both weird and funny.

Tension broken from our shared nostalgia, Matt took Charlotte outside to get some fresh air while I got dinner started.  Apparently the hippies were very nice to Charlotte - she is an appreciative audience, and had told me that she was really wanting to go out there - "I'm friendly and brave!  I want to meet them and play guitar with them while they are singing!  Do you think they are brave too?  Can I go play music with them?"  She danced and clapped for them while they sang their various songs.  When Matt & Charlotte came back inside, they started singing "Jane Says" and I pretty much died laughing.  "How old are they??  They can't be old enough to know these songs," I said to Matt.

"Well, the girl singing is almost 27," he said.  "She asked Charlotte when her birthday was, and when Charlotte said September 24th the girl said she would be 27 on September 19th, so..."

"Chris's age.  Hmm.  They must have older siblings."  Seriously, their set list was like MTV's early/mid 90s afternoon rotation, with a couple hippie exceptions (two Janis Joplin songs):

mercedes benz
bobby mcgee
no rain
jane says
what i got
what's up
mr jones
what i like about you

The "What's Up" cover was pretty timely, for me personally, because I've listened to it a few times this year already.  I was thinking that Charlotte would like it, and she sort of does (though she likes this cover of it better) but I realized how much I loved that song.  I also looked it up on Wikipedia last year and discovered that the singer has done some other projects, none reaching the kind of exposure that this single did, but that she's actually a song writer who has written or co-wrote a ton of big songs.  So that was cool.  And, uh, maybe I sang along in my apartment with the hippie jam band while washing my dishes.

Matt and I had another crack up moment when they started playing "No Rain," because a) I love that song b) everyone used to say I reminded them of the Bee Girl*.  Then we started giggling even harder because Charlotte ran to her room and started rifling through her instruments to find something to play along with it.  She picked up and put down two tambourines and started playing them, which caused Matt and I to lose it.  "What, does she just instinctively know this song?"  She ended up bringing out her drum, but again, seriously, this whole thing just turned my day around.

* Just a nice way of saying, "You know you're chubby and kind of  weird, right?" but I was okay with it.  Also one time at Hampshire Halloween someone dressed as the Bee Girl and I was jealous because I always meant to do a costume but never got one together.  Maybe this year. Or maybe when Charlotte is older so I can REALLY embarrass her.

Friday, June 10, 2011

last week in cell phone pictures

all dressed up for the occasional nap

STPO spells STOP, Mom.  

last trip in the old car, Johnny the Hyundai 

Al's Toy Barn

Gardening is serious work.

Queen & Princess