17 June 2014
I am so proud of her, as I suffer through every other word being sounded out.
03 June 2013
The baby grackle wasn’t the only one unfolding its wings yesterday. Earlier this week Lola announced out of the blue that she wanted her training wheels removed from her bike. She was ready to ride without them. Dressed in full-on protective gear, we set out to teach our girl how to ride. She didn’t realize it, but she caught on within seconds. Turning her bike was a little tricky though, and our little perfectionist was ready to quit when she didn’t get it right on her first try.
I remember my first bike ride. It was my sixth birthday and when I entered the living room there was a shiny red bicycle waiting for me. A friend taught me how to ride it that same day. She held on to my saddle for a minute or two and then let go. That was all there was to it. I can still picture the look of surprise on my mother’s face when I raced by. I had told Lola about this a few weeks ago, and I suspect that’s where her desire came from. But her experience wasn’t as rewarding as she thought it would be.
“I thought dad would hold on for two minutes and then it would be perfect,” she said to me, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Poor kid, blessed with her parents’ perfectionist genes. I don’t know why her first solo ride disappointed her so much she wanted to give up; it looked just about perfect to me. With a little prodding she was willing to get back on her bike and give a few more tries. And lo and behold, she did it. Racing up and down the street, she gave us a big grin. We still have to work a little bit on her right turn, but she mastered the basics yesterday.
26 May 2013
As usual Lola and her cousin L. were hunting for frogs down by the water. Despite the very loud croaking we hear at night, there were not that many frogs to be found yet, just dozens of ticks.
At long last the girls came back with one frog, a lovely green specimen.
What they also found was a garter snake. It was a decent sized one, about three feet long. After it was admired by all, the girls took their temporary pets around the house while the adults remained behind on the back deck to relax a little, enjoy the sun, and watch Ryan and his brother put the dock in the water.
Queue blood-curdling scream. The adults jumped up as one and ran to the front of the house, trying not to scrape their bare feet on the gravel path, fully expecting to find massive amounts of blood. Fortunately none of the children were injured. The same could not be said for the frog, however.
It seems the snake and the frog met, and the snake did not play nice.
“Thanks for the free lunch. See ya..!” And off it went, full belly and all, back into the woods.
28 August 2012
"Mother. This is a serious question. What if I'm a musketeer and I have two horses. How do I get to town?"
"That is easy," I tell her. "You ride on one horse and you tether the other one to the horse you're riding on.
"I don't want to be a musketeer anymore," she answers me. "It's too hard. What if I cut myself with my sword?"
That seems like a legitimate concern.
"That is why you practice. Most things are hard at the beginning. Do you think being an artist, a farmer, and a biologist (her other chosen professions) is easy?"
"My friends will laugh at me. I'll be the silliest musketeer ever!"
I set her on my lap, my silly musketeer with the serious concerns, and we snuggle for awhile. I tell her she has time to think about it. All the time in the world.
17 July 2012
I remember this so clearly because I used to rip her posters when I was angry at her. Not full on tearing and trashing, I didn't have the guts to do that, but tiny little tears along the edges of the poster. Just to make a point, albeit a very sad and pathetic one.
Fast forward three decades. I walked into my craft room yesterday where I have a project laid out that I am currently working on. It consists of six felt squares with appliques. Some squares are cut from craft felt and some from hand died, rather expensive, imported all the way from Holland, one hundred percent wool felt.
In one of the cheaper felt squares I noticed a few small cuts along the edge. I was pretty sure the felt was whole when I cut my squares. I suspected Lola or her friend B. accidentally cut the felt when they were cutting up some paper.
I was wrong. As it turns out it was not an accident. My daughter fessed up to cutting the felt on purpose. She was "just so mad" at me. Not that she knew why she was mad, she just remembered she was. And to make her point, she cut my felt. Like her mother, she did not have the guts to really go for it and cut the good stuff, so she went for the cheap felt instead. A wise choice.
Naturally she was reprimanded for this little stunt and threatened with eternal banishment from the craft room (a fate worse than death in our house) if she ever pulled something like this again. But I had a very hard time actually being angry with her.
As I was talking with her, I was chewing the inside of my cheek, trying to suppress a smile. I could not believe she did the exact same thing I did as a child. And all the while I could hear my sister laughing in the back of my head.
Karma is a b*tch. So is payback.
09 March 2012
“Guess what? My grandma wants me to stay little forever.”
“Because I am just so cute.”
“So she wants you to be little?”
“Yes. But I just keep growing.”
“No you don’t.”
“Yes I do.”
“But I am still taller than you.”
“That’s because I am growing s-l-o-w-l-y …”
01 February 2012
It’s important stuff. You should go watch it. Go. Now. I’ll wait.
It makes you want do something, doesn’t it? It did for me anyway. So I shared it on my Facebook page, and visited www.missrepresentation.org and pledged I will do anything I can to change the message that is being sent out to little girls and boys today. It’s not much, but it’s something.
What got me thinking were the comments on the original Facebook post by Little Acorn Learning, a Waldorf inspired blog. They boiled down to turning off the TV permanently, not allowing children access to computers, no video games, no cell phones, nothing. While I do understand this knee-jerk reaction, to me it is sticking your head in the sand.
There is no way we will be able to keep our children from the media, and the media from our children. Unless you go off the grid and never return, chances are your child will watch TV or play on a computer at some point. If it’s not at your own house, it’s at school, at a friend’s house, in a waiting room, in a restaurant, in a store. It is extremely hard to avoid.
We do not raise strong, confident, and respectful women and men by ignoring the topic. This approach is very popular with some but teenagers still get pregnant and people still get infected with HIV. Time has proven again and again that the ostrich method simply doesn’t work.
Instead we need to be aware of what we watch, what we say, what we do. We need to talk with our children about what they watch, what they say, what they do. This is how we raise children that are not interested in the current message because they know how limited it is.
So this is me, creating awareness. Please pass it on and help me change the message that is sent to our kids. Thank you.
I’ll get off my soap box now.
26 January 2012
Ryan: "Oh, do you?"
Lola: "What's a crush?"
Ryan: "It's when you have romantic feelings for someone whom you want to kiss."
Lola: "Okay." Evidently that is what she meant.
K. explained to Lola how they could just be very good friends since he was not only married but a lot older as well. And then we talked a little about etiquette. About how it's not polite to hit on married people.
Also, don't fart.
05 December 2011
We can do that.
I feel it is important to document this. When she and I revisit this topic in twelve years (that seems such a short time from now) I can remind her that all we agreed on was a better booster seat. No license, let alone borrowing the car. You are all my witnesses.
08 September 2011
|Ready for The Big Day|
That's right, now that she's a kindergartener, she doesn't think she needs a nap anymore. When it was time to rest, Mrs. L. played a movie for the kids that don't take naps and Lola considers herself one of those now.
This is Lola at 6:30 PM. Out like a light on the couch while I was preparing dinner. She murmured something about being super hungry but try as I might, nothing could wake her up.
29 August 2011
It became very real when we visited the school to register her, two weeks ago. We were given a little tour, took a peek into her classroom, the gym, the cafeteria, the playground, and the Principal's office.
Last week we went back-to-school shopping together to make it even more official. Markers, crayons, glue sticks, and two pairs of new shoes; everything has been checked off the list. We had a wonderful time together.
The only thing we are still going back and forth on is the size of her backpack. I think her current small one can still do for a year. Lola is trying to convince me she needs a big backpack now that she is a big girl. Not to mention that all the other kids at school have a big backpack, too. Or so she claims. Given the importance of the occasion, I will most likely cave before next Wednesday.
I am taking the day off to take her to school on her first day. After that, she will take the bus. Finally she gets to ride the big yellow school bus she always points out to me when we are on the road. In Lola's eyes, that just might be best thing about going to school.
Another milestone. My daughter truly is a big girl now. I just know my emotions are going to get the better of me next week when she disappears into that classroom. And possibly (probably) again when I take her picture as she steps onto the bus for the first time. I apologize in advance, Lola.
24 May 2011
She was talking about my uncle, my dad’s younger brother who lives in south east Wisconsin. When he retired, he and my aunt bought a catamaran in the Caribbean where they spend their winters sailing from island to island. Last March, while visiting a street festival in the lovely Santa Lucia, J. ate a fishy looking fish and promptly got sick. Food poisoning was everyone’s first thought. Except the vomiting and diarrhea wouldn’t stop.
After dropping forty five pounds, several visits to local ER’s, and an overnight hospital stay, they decided to fly back a little early and see a doctor here. The doctor suggested a cat-scan to look for a possible obstruction in J.’s colon, something they did indeed find. They also found something else; advanced pancreatic cancer. There is no cure for that. And just like that, everything changed.
I took a few days off last week and drove south for a visit. My aunt, uncle, and my cousins have been my second family since I was seventeen. It was a good visit. It was a little shocking to see J. minus forty five pounds. The 4,000 calorie diet he is currently on hasn’t done him much good yet. (It worked great for us though, especially the rhubarb crumble pie and the blueberry cheesecake.) And aside from the fact that we talked a lot about cancer and death, it was very much like old times.
J. started chemotherapy last Wednesday. When I called on Friday to see how he was holding up, I was told things were going okay for the most part. But Ryan spoke to my cousin last night and found out J. had spent the weekend in the hospital, very sick from the chemo. For the next eight days, he can recover, then he goes back for round two. Every other week a round of chemo, for the next eight weeks.
I don’t know why Lola thought of J. all of a sudden. The conversation from last night was a carbon copy of the conversation she and I had a few weeks ago, when J. was first diagnosed and she wanted to know why I was crying. She has been talking a lot about death lately, brought on by a dead deer she saw alongside the road. There is a lot going on in that little blond head of hers. And it won’t be very long that I will no longer have all the answers.
23 April 2011
The visit went fine, for the most part. She is growing as she should and everything functions as it should. No surprise there. It ended with the final round of her vaccinations. When I told her she was going to get some shots, she enthusiastically asked if she was going to get a band aid? Why, of course!
Two nurses came in to administer the vaccinations, four in all. While I held Lola's elbows, they stereo poked her. Lola sat up when she felt the first pokes but held it together. But the last one, the MMR, was a mean one. That one really hurt. Poor girl. Not even the toy stethoscope the nurse gave her when it was over could console her. When I asked her if she was mad, she answered: "No. I am sad."
Lola and I both have a dental appointment next week. She is also very much looking forward to that visit but she did check with me first if the dentist was going to poke her too. I told her no, he will not. She sighed with relief and proceeded to tell me she never wants to go to the doctor again, she prefers the dentist. I wonder how long it will stay that way...
09 December 2010
She would, from time to time, tell me she didn't want to wear diapers anymore. After all, she is a big girl now and none of her friends at school wear diapers either. (Apparently that is what toddlers talk about when they're by themselves.) I would answer her that I would be happy to put the pull-ups away if she was able to keep it dry. I know she can do it, because nine out of ten times when she crawls into bed with me in the wee hours of the morning, she is still dry. She is just a little lazy about going potty in the morning and when it's time to get up, she's wet.
She must get this laziness from her parents because last night at bedtime, when we realized we were out of pull-ups, we did not run to the store that is a mere five minutes away. Too late, too cold, too lazy. Instead we asked Lola if she was up to the task of not wetting her bed. Of course she was, she assured us. We happily chose to believe her.
She almost succeeded. At 1 o'clock this morning, she woke me up to inform me she had just gone potty. Wonderful! When I took her back to bed, I noticed her pyjama pants were a little bit wet. I took that as a good sign because peeing had apparently woken her up. Fresh jammies and back to sleep she went.
At 5 o'clock she was back by my bedside, this time naked from the waste down. Again, she had gone potty in the bathroom, but there was a fairly big wet spot in her bed as well. So, first thing this morning I was stripping her bed and doing laundry. That's what I get for not running to the store last night.
I think I am going to tough it out for a little bit and not give in to the urge to buy pull-ups because I think this might be a good way to learn. And 5:30 AM is as good a time as any to do laundry, don't you think?
22 September 2010
She was cool as a cucumber throughout her check up. I think she actually enjoyed it. Her teeth were all there and she has no cavities to report. Surprisingly, neither do I. Unlike Lola however, I did not get my picture taken and added to the "No Cavities!!" wall.
Afterward she received a little baggy with a toothbrush, Sponge Bob toothpaste ("The same as Elisabeth!"), children's mouthwash, dental floss, and stickers. I was given a baggy too, but no stickers for me.
In the car on the way back Lola admired every item in her baggy. At some point she asked me: "Mom, how do I put the string back?" I looked in the rear view mirror and there was Lola, completely covered in dental floss. I am going to have to show her the ropes tonight.
17 September 2010
The other day Lola and I were in the bathroom. She has asked me for a wipe to clean her bed, she's very helpful when it comes to cleaning, and I was reaching for one to give to her.
"So mom," she said in an almost seductive voice, "what do you think of me?"
I turned around. "Um..., huh?"
"What do you think of my body?", she added. One hip pushed out, hand on her other hip.
Where did this come from? I am so not ready for this, and I don't want Lola to be either. She's three! I told her I thought she was beautiful and sent her on her way with a baby wipe. She wiggled her butt at me and took off.
Little girls, I tell ya, they grow up so fast. Too fast, if you ask me. I don't think this is an issue with little boys. Right?
28 March 2010
To Ryan as he is leaving for school:
"Bye papa! Don’t pee in your pants, don’t poop in your pants. I love you!"
Whilst reading the adventures of Dora the Explorer and being corrected on the use of he versus she:
“He is not she, he is Dora!”
“Lola, I have had enough. Can you please be a normal, good girl?”
“No. I want to be Lola.”
On ignoring the ‘No Running in the House’ rule:
“But mom, I am not running. I am pretending to run.”
Asking to look at the pictures and movies on my digital camera:
“I want to look at Lola, The Movie!”
The girl likes to dance:
“I need some music.” (And by music she means The Black Eyed Peas.)
When I try to dislodge myself from her grip after kissing her good night:
"You can't go anywhere. I am keeping you." Followed by her 'evil' laugh "Ha, ha, ha, ha..."
17 November 2009
Her thumb sucking is impeding her dental development, though. Her front teeth have not completely come down, and she cannot properly pronounce the 'L' and the 'Th'. The time has come to take her thumbs away from her. For a while now, we have been pulling her thumb out of her mouth whenever we catch her. It works for a few minutes, and then one thumb or the other goes right back in.
Harsher measures are in order. Cutting her thumbs off is obviously not an option. Instead, we have resorted to a nasty tasting nail polish-like solution. Tonight was the first night she could not suck her thumb to help her fall sleep. She did not like it, to put it mildly. She cried and screamed my name for what seemed like a very long time. My poor baby.
I remember so clearly how awful it was when I had to stop sucking my thumb. My sister and I quit together, cold turkey. Of course we were much older than Lola. I was ten years old, and had an impressive overbite. The first night was horrible. To help us fall asleep, my mother laid down between the two of us, holding my right thumb and my sister's left thumb in her hands. Not one of us slept very well that night, least of all my mom.
Lola fell asleep after about half an hour. That's not so bad. I think this is much harder on me than it is on her. It is a good thing she has two parents because I am not very good at tough love. I have some growing up to do, too.