Saturday, July 30, 2011

what's it worth to you?

If you're watching youtube with your little sister, and she keeps hitting the space bar, thus starting and stopping the video, what is it worth to you to block her from the keyboard?

This is the price Kiddo is willing to pay.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Kiddo has a lot to say, and I'll admit, I don't always pay perfect attention to her. (Ahh, possible insight to why she doesn't listen to me.) We were at my grandparents today, along with my brother and his family, and an aunt and uncle. Kiddo was playing in the yard with two of her boy cousins. She yelled something to me about the yard, it sounded like "I'm going to play in the yard."

I "yeah, okay"d her to let her know I heard her, vaguely wondered why she was telling me she was playing in the yard when she was already there, and had been a while, but really I was trying to get back to whatever adult conversation I was having.

She made her announcement a second (third?) time, and for reasons I still don't know, I looked at her. There she was, standing in the middle of the yard, skirt up, underwear down.

At this moment she announced a fourth time, and this time I finally heard her, "I'm going to potty in the yard."

Not on my watch. I quickly ran to her, pulled up the undies, and carried her inside. She spent most of that time insisting she was not going to the potty, and me telling her that yes, she was. Luckily, the bathroom was the biggest she's ever seen, with two soaps! (to go along with the two sinks), so the novelty erased our previous argument. (Is it just me, or do I spend a lot of time arguing with my three year old? Is this normal?)

As she eventually went #2, I'm especially glad I found the proper venue.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

leaving on a jet plane

After at least a month of packing, possibly more, I left my home Tuesday morning (at 4:45). I took my two kids with me. Grandma, who had come for my last push of packing, came with us. I left my husband to finish packing, finish his job, and put all of our thing in storage before driving to my parents. I will fly to my parents' home soon. For long time followers of this blog, exactly two years previously, we put all our stuff into storage while moving into someone's basement. Both times it was because one chapter of our life closed before the next opened. (Would we call this not a prologue or epilogue, but logue?) It is just as hard the second time.


At the airport, I was holding Babs, and Grandma was pushing Kiddo in the stroller. A TSA employee came up to us specifically to tell me that Babs looked exactly like her Grandma, and nothing like me.


In our packing, we ran across another clear plastic backpack. I thought it would be adorable if both girls had one as we walked through the airport. While a nice idea, I failed to account for the fact that Babs' balance is not up to a backpack, no matter how light. Putting it on her caused her to fall over enough that I just took it off. Maybe next time.


For the last long while, every time we've gone to our grocery store, Kiddo spends time looking at "the big girl stuff" which is the aisle section devoted to toys (also oatmeal and fruit snacks, so we go there a lot). I've never bought her anything from there. We go to the grocery store too often for her to expect a toy each time.

But as we were leaving, and we wanted something special for the plane, Grandma took us to the grocery store, and bought her a big girl toy: a polly pocket car, girl, and accessories. Kiddo was excited beyond belief. She carried the unopened package all afternoon. She slept next to her polly pocket. She never let it out of her sight.

And then at the airport, she had to put it through the x-ray machine. There was much weeping and wailing. And then some more. And some screaming. No matter how I explained it, or I tried to talk to her about it, or a TSA employee tried to help, she just cried harder about not letting go of her backpack. After multiple tries, I was done. I snatched the backpack out of her hands, placed it on the belt, said "this is how it works," and herded her towards the people x-ray. Stunningly (miraculously) she stopped crying, and went through security.

A thoughtful employee on the other side of security tried to encourage her for being brave, but the reminder of the separation was too harsh, and she started wailing again. I smiled and said "we'll be leaving now" and hoped she would calm soon (which she did).


Our seat assignments were two center seats in row 7 and 8. No employee was able to fix this, and sit me next to my three year old. They told me I would have to trade with someone. I was very overwhelmed. I took advantage of seating for families with small children to establish me and my child next to each other. When the man showed up who had the window seat, and I asked him to sit one row back in the middle seat, it was clear that he was not excited about the idea. But I was unwilling to move until he actually said no. He silently sighed, then said okay, and moved back. I am grateful that his better nature won through, and he let me sit next to my child. I hate going through this process so often when I fly. Just assign me to a seat next to my kid.


After a long, but uneventful, flight, then a thrilling bus ride (if you're three), and a ride in Grandma's silver car, we finally got here. And here will stay, visiting family and friends for the next week.

Tonight Babs was crying, because she'd been up, with only a 20 minute nap, for 12 hours. I was trying to bathe her given how much time she'd spent running around outside today. Kiddo asked why she was crying. Did I say she wanted to go home? I told Kiddo, no, I said she wanted to go to bed. And I thought, she probably is crying because she wants to go home, but that's too bad, because there is currently no home to go to.

I am exceedingly grateful for excellent family, who will provide us with one until we have a new one to go home to.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

just a girl

We hung out with our Indian friends for the last time today. The boys were desperate to go outside and play with their water guns, even if it was over a 100 degrees outside. All the children happily tromped downstairs to the yard, but unfortunately there were only two water guns. R and D (the boys) shot everyone with the water guns for a little while, then Kiddo realized she didn't have one. So she got to borrow one for a little bit.

I'm not sure she knew the word "gun" before this. I had to show her how to use it. Then, even though she had been shot at for the last 5 minutes, she didn't think to aim it at anyone else, she jsut took it around the yard and watered the flowers. She's just a girl, not a boy, and that moment showed it to me again.

Then she found some chalk, and was very excited to draw on the sidewalk, relinquishing the gun without a second thought.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

oh, so you really were hurt?

My friends were over for dinner tonight, and after dinner, while she did the dishes, he played with his boy Mac and my girl Babs. (My other girl, Kiddo, was off to the park with a neighbor girl.) Since Babs hasn't roughhoused with a dad in almost four days, she was eager to have lots of fun. Enough that after a little while, I could even leave the room.

I returned when I heard her hysterically crying. She had fallen, and was not happy. I scooped her up, where she immediately settled her head on my shoulder, cried a bit more, then was fine.

I took this opportunity to put her to bed, as she was also very tired.

Just before walking into her room I noticed a large red spot on my shoulder. Oh. She was bleeding on me. No wonder she was so sad...

A quick check indicated that nothing was seriously wrong, just a split lip or something. At least I know she deserved to cry.

Monday, July 18, 2011

a strange sort of intimacy

My apartment is about 5 feet from one neighbor on one side, and 5 feet on the other side.

This means that during spring and fall we hear each others' conversations because all our windows are open to enjoy the beautiful weather. This means that while I've only talked to them once, I know the names of the kids who live next door, and I know that their boy, who is a little older than Kiddo is a whiner. And his dad has no patience with that.

But, they know that we have to convince our oldest to use the potty any time she goes, and that she doesn't like to pull up her underwear.

This also means that my daughter can look out her window and watch our neighbor's parties in their backyard, with them 10 feet away.

I suppose we learn these sorts of things about our neighbors in the individual house neighborhoods of suburbia, but there you can pretend that you have privacy. Here there is no illusion.

Is that why we don't talk to each other? Because we already know what's going on in their living room, we don't need to visit?

running argument

Kiddo loves her sleeping bag. It currently hangs out on her bed. She always wants me to curl up with her in it, or lie next to her on it, or just touch it. But it's a sleeping bag, so it's hot to be around. And our house is hot, her room especially because she likes to close her door.

Today she asked me again to sit next to her on her sleeping bag. "See, mom, there's room for you." (And there was.)

"Kiddo," I sighed. "What do I always tell you about your sleeping bag?"

"I don't know." (It's possible she never hears me.)

So I give her my reason that I give every time I try to avoid the sleeping bag: "It's hot. If I lie on it, I get hot. Sleeping bags are hot."

And she replied as she always does: "No it isn't. There is no steam coming from it."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

practice makes perfect

Once she was finally dressed this morning, Kiddo looked beautiful. She was wearing her favorite dress (it has pockets!), and asked me to put that ribbon in her hair. With the curls at the end of her beautiful long hair, well, I was smitten, again. So I took her picture.

The pictures don't do her justice, and it's not just because she's doing a silly smile. I sighed and thought, I just don't have Wendolin's talent... or her equipment or experience, my mind added. I thought about how talent is an perfect starting point, but practice is really important to expertise as well. Then I realized that one of the truly important reasons for me to stay at home as a mother is because then I can actually spend enough time at it to actually get good at it.

There's hope for me yet.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

about friends

My husband tried to explain the move to Kiddo tonight.

Her first question was where is our new house. (This may have been where I got derailed when I tried.) He told her we didn't know, but we'd stay with Grammy and Grandpa for a while until we got a new house.

He told her that all of her things would come with us, and be in our new house.

"New things in our new house?" she asked excitedly. "No, old things in our new house," we replied.

She asked if her old room would be in our new house. No, but you'll have a new room. Then she wanted to know what color it would be. We told her probably white, and she got very excited about the prospect of dancing on a white floor, until we told her it was probably the walls that would be white, not the floor.

Daddy then stressed that while the place would change, it would still be our family, Daddy, Mama, Kiddo, and Babs.

But I felt like we were missing a key fact, so I pointed out that we would have new people at church, and make new friends. (For personal reasons I just could not say out loud that we wouldn't see our old friends. I'm finding that idea pretty much unbearable right now, so I'm mostly ignoring it.)

"New friends?!" she exclaimed. "We can make them out of paper!"

(This comment significantly reduces any guilt I've felt about not providing her with enough friends.)

real gratitude

Kiddo said the second blessing on the food for dinner tonight. (You don't have multiple blessings? You must not have young children.) She was grateful for her pretend suitcase.

I've never thought to be grateful for something I imagined. I probably should.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

how not to pack

I did a lot today. We visited a friend for lunch and the park. I explained a summer school assignment to my french speaking friends. (Considering I learned French in order to teach people about God, I was truly unprepared to explain ideas like: "setting" and "characters" "climax" and "plot.") I fed my family. I did the dishes. I did a little laundry. I straightened the house for the people coming to view the apartment (with the help of my excellent, hardworking husband).

And I figured I should pack at least one box. It was almost full, then I talked to my husband about what else we should put in it, and then decided that the contents of the box fit better in a plastic tote we had. Thus I unpacked the box. How many new boxes did I pack today? None.

Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

T minus 13 days

This is an accurate representation of Babs, and her older sister, for the next two weeks. Zoned out in front of the television. Except when I'm dragging them outside to "help our friends." Because I need to pack. I leave in two weeks. That's really soon.

It's no wonder I don't post any more. I'm too stressed to think of clever things to say about my family, and cute stories. They're still happening. And wouldn't it be great if I wrote them down so I'd remember them?

Okay, so on that note, here's a picture of Kiddo.

This is her waiting to get on the plane back to our house in February. She was dragging her backpack to resemble all the people who were dragging their suitcases behind them.

We told her recently that soon, we were going to visit Grandma, and then Grammy and Grandpa. (We left out that we were never coming back. It's seems really abstract for a three year old. We'll tell her soon.) We also tell her quite often that we're packing. So it is no surprise that she asks at least once a day, "Are we going to Grandma's now?"

To express her excitement, she carries her "pretend suitcase" with her every where she goes. Which really means that she holds her fist behind her back, as if rolling along a suitcase. She stays in character though, and won't do things with the hand that is carrying the suitcase.

Almost, I thought I should buy her her own suitcase. Then I realized that would just be one more thing I would need to keep track of as I fly these girls around in the next few weeks, so her real suitcase will have to wait a while more.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Today we spent a lot of time drawing, because, in Kiddo's words, she's a good artist (true). At one point she told me she was drawing a picture of her tithing. She correctly identified that she would give Heavenly Father one dollar, and she got to keep nine.

Last visit from Grandma, she gave Kiddo $10. Eventually we got around to teaching her about tithing, and she paid her $1 to the church. She was explaining this to me as she drew her picture. She reminded me that she gave her tithing to our branch president.

"And he gave it to Heavenly Father," continued Kiddo. At first I agreed with her. The principle was correct. But then I felt I should be more precise, and tell her he gave it to the church.

"It's used to build temples, and churches," I taught her.

"I'm going to help build a temple," she said. I was starting to tell her how yes, her money was going towards temple building when she continued, "I'll bring my [toy] tool set."

that's the way...

Kiddo wanted croutons (called "tons" when she was little, so cute) and dressing for lunch, one of her favorite foods. We always insist that some greenery (or other color) of food is eaten with it, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. Today, I was telling her yes she could have croutons and dressing, but she'd also need to eat some cucumber. I started to explain that she would need to do this because... when she filled in the blank for me, "Because that's the way life is."

Hmm. I hadn't realized I'd told her that so often.

But it's true. Sometimes things just are, and you have to accept it.

For example, I'm really leaving in less than three weeks. And I'm really not very packed yet. And there is only one more week of normalcy in our house, because then my husband is gone, then I leave. My heart has that tight anxiety feeling.

We're jumping into the dark. Employment for my husband ends (amicably) in three weeks. There is no new job on the horizon. We are packing all of our things into storage (again!) and moving in with my parents. I will seriously miss my friends, and many things about where we live. Yet, it's a great blessing we won't have to drain our savings to live in this very expensive part of the country. Plus, my parents are great, and have a big house, pool, and functioning ward, so it's not like it's a bad thing to have an extended visit there, but this isn't how we wanted this all to work out.

And maybe this isn't how it will all work out. Maybe the job is coming in the next three weeks. Maybe it's coming in the next three months. As a good woman in the church told me last Sunday, "The Lord knows where the job is." I laughed, and said "I believe that. I just wish He'd let us know." Today is good for me...

But apparently today is not good for me, because we still don't know. When we know, that's when it will be good for us. That's what we believe. That's what the Spirit has told us. And we can continue to believe that we are being blessed, because we are.

For example: look at my kids' cute friends from church (missing two, sadly they were not feeling well that day)
And my amazing friends from church (sadly missing one, her kids kept her up all the night before)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

coming to America

For the first time since Kiddo was born (and possibly earlier) our family went to see fireworks last night. Our little town, although within sight of NYC (on a clear day), still puts on it's own show. The sight is five blocks from our house, so just before 9 we headed out to the park. (We unfortunately left the camera at home.)

The fireworks were wonderful. We were very close, so they were extra loud and bold. The wind was gently blowing in our direction, so we were covered with ash by the end. Babs wasn't a fan, so she insisted on being held, rocked, and having her ears plugged (plus a good deal of hair holding) throughout the show. Kiddo started with her ears plugged and eyes closed, but by the end was cheering on every single last firework. She loved them.

I sat there, and thought about how much I love fireworks, how grateful I am that I was born in America (and not just any America, middle class America), and how that was exactly how I wanted to celebrate my country's birthday: sitting there in my little town with people who mostly had not been born here, but had chosen here, and love it all the more because of it. I love this place.

sharing the love

Kiddo likes to watch TV from our hallway; it's safer there. It's where she retreats when there are scary parts (like, say, Wonder Pets). Today, during some VeggieTales, she felt the need to run off. Moments after she left the couch I heard a triumphant cry from Babs.

She was beelining it for the open spot because Kiddo had left her jammies and onsies. And Babs has figured out that those are worth having. So she snatched them, then cuddled up with them on the floor.

A few minutes after returning to the TV room, Kiddo noticed Babs using her comfort items. She took them back. I felt bad for Babs, but couldn't declare those particular items as ones to share.

Do I give Babs her own set of jammies? Do I assume that she just likes them because of Kiddo? Do I shake my head in wonder that not only is there a totally non-traditional lovey, but that my kids seem poised to share a single one? Yes, the last one.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Babs and the phone

This is what Babs knows about an iPhone: you have to squeeze your head and shoulder together while using it. She seems to have missed that when I strike this pose, I typically am not holding the phone, but it have it squeezed there too.