Christmas Comes But Once a Year, Unless You're With the TSO

Posted on 12/31/2006 06:05:00 AM
This year, the KingofHearts has decided that it is time to get out of debt and stop spending so much money. (Interesting how he only just decided this now, after getting out of school and securing his first full time job making any real money in years and not when he was back in school and I was paying almost all the bills, but that's a post for another day... under my secret blog name that he doesn't know about.) So we agreed that we would not purchase Christmas gifts for each other this year and instead "do something together".

I agreed only because not having to go shopping is actually a pretty good Christmas present for me (although I had plans for his gift this year and now he will never know, wha ha ha ha). Makes for an anti-climactic Christmas morning, but... eh... whatever. The Dormouse covered that void with the waking me up at 5:00 am and the hitting me on the face repeatedly and the hissing a whisper into my ear at 90 decibels "I think SANTA brought me some PRESENTS!"

A few days after The Agreement, KoH came home with tickets to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for our "something to do together". I've heard of them from their much-overused electric guitar version of Christmas Bells, which starts getting play on television commercials around about September 30, but didn't know too much about the band. I'm always up for a new musical obsession, so I was game.

So last night we attended the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. Or as I like to call it: 1984.

The first thing I noticed about them when they finally emerged from the blackness of the makeshift curtain, was the striking amount of hair on the stage. It was like watching a Steve Perry retrospective. I'd always assumed they had some sort of career outside of Christmas music. Apparently, not so. Looking at their website, they have six albums, five of which are Christmas related. (I'm really more interested in the Beethoven's Last Night album - which they obviously did not perform in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day - maybe someone can tell me if it's worth a purchase.)

Here's the description of the etymology of their musical philosophy from their website:

While producing and writing for a number of years with various rock groups Paul was always looking for ways to make the music have greater and greater emotional impact. He tried to write the music that was so melodic it didn't need lyrics. And lyrics that were so poetic that they didn't need music but once you put the two of them together, the sum of the parts would be greater than the whole, and you couldn't imagine them apart. Once he'd done this, he was still looking for a way to take it to even greater heights and he realized that putting the songs within the context of a story would give it a third dimension that would make that additional emotional impact possible. Hence, he started writing not just albums, but rock operas.
I am loving this, because they make it sound so much like he invented the concept. My musician friends and I can tell you that this is just a tone poem, the concept of which has been in use since the middle 1800s.

Anyhoo, the concert was replete with lots of screaming guitar solos, laser light shows, an obscene amount of man-made fog, a string section that constantly appeared to be playing with little auditory evidence of such, a narrator, lighted backdrop meant to simulate stars in the sky, and snow. Yes, SNOW. If Frank Capra were alive today and was a hair band aficionado, he would have Loved. This. Show. He might even have been inspired to write the sequel to It's a Wonderful Life - where there's really no conflict at all, everyone just sings and makes toasts to George Bailey and says "I Love You" for two more hours.

Overall, I dug it. I could have done without the melodramatic narration about the Angel who "flew over the world and looked down once more..." (read while doing your best impression of a bad actor starring in a high school production of Hamlet) which was meant to tie all the pieces together and the twenty-five climaxes which each made you say "dude, this one has GOT to be the last song of the evening right?" But nooooo. Ultimately there were enough imitations of Journey and Night Ranger to make even me nostalgic for high school.

Oh and here's my favorite part: before the concert started, a father and daughter team sat down directly in front of us. They were obviously fans and knew the names of all the band members. The girl couldn't have been more than twelve and excitement oozed off her into the rows around. They each had binoculars and when the main three members of the band came onstage to present the President of the local USO with a $10,000 check (representing one dollar for each seat they sell which they donate to a local charity at every tour date), I swear, I saw the girl actually swoon. Later, when they really got into the swing of things, they started an arrangement of Joy to the World and I happened to look down and see the girl air guitar-ing, air piano-ing, air violin-ing, air-drumming and conducting with unabashed enthusiasm to every entrance and nuance of the entire piece - almost before the TSO guys even knew they were going to play the notes. Then I happened to catch her dad - although in a much more socially appropriate and covert adult fashion - doing the same thing along side her. The only time he stopped was when he put his camera lens up to his binocular lens, inventing a makeshift telephoto lens, to take closeup pictures of each of the band members as their turn for a solo arrived. It was better than the show.

Happy New Year to All and to All a Good Night!

Note to TSO: less talking and singing, more hair and badass guitar.

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Left Handed Compliment

Posted on 12/29/2006 06:28:00 AM

"You're the best, mom!"

"You bought some eyedrops to make my eyes feel better and I didn't like them and it hurt my eyes and I hated it when you put them in and I cried and cried but you did it to help my sick eye. So you're a good mom afterall."

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Please Lord, She's Only Three

Posted on 12/28/2006 06:23:00 PM
So I was sitting on my bed, watching who-knows-what crime drama, the other night and The Dormouse came in to sit next to me in a rare sitting-still-and-not-elbowing-momma-in-the-stomach moment.

As Grissom and Katherine painstakingly took photographs of broken glass on the ground and pondered whether the glass was broken from the inside or the outside (or whatever it was whoever it was were doing), The Dormouse threw this one in my lap:

"Momma, do we kiss boys?"

I am not prepared for the next sixteen years.

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Inappropriate Songs (Christmas Edition)

Posted on 12/27/2006 07:49:00 AM In:
This little gem was heard from the bathtub last night:

Deck the halls
with poison ornaments
Moo moo moo moo mooooo,
moo moo moo moo.

The second verse went a completely different way:

Deck the halls
with pears and mormons
Blah blah blah blah blaaaaah,
blah blah blah blah.

If we ever invite you over for Christmas Dinner, just say no.

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Malcolm 8, Malcolm 9...

Posted on 12/26/2006 06:35:00 AM
This one is in honor of Ron Karenga:

The other day a bunch of us were talking about whether Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton could win if he or she ran for President in the next race. (We have such politically-charged discussions over lunch... we're so socially conscious... insert eye-rolling emoticon here.)

Anyway, one of my unnamed friends who happens to be Black... and older than me... (I swear if you’re reading this, it’s not you… I must be talking about someone else… seriously… do you really think this person resembles you?... Never! This person is much more... La la la…) starts explaining why she doesn't think she'll ever live to see a Black man become president – that there are too many people who simply won’t accept this and if it did happen, she'd be concerned for his safety more so than any other politician. Then she starts giving all this historical perspective about the civil rights movement... blah blah blah… race relations are actually worse now than back in the 60s… blah blah blah (and let the record reflect that I’m only blah, blahing over this part because it’s not germane to the story)…

And she keeps referring to "back in the times of Malcolm Ten…" and "when Malcolm Ten was active..." And I’m thinking: wow, I don’t know my Black History as well as I thought I did. Who is Malcolm Ten?... , but she was older than me during the 60s and 70s and probably remembers better... but, wow, I really haven't ever heard of this dude before... Then suddenly, it occurs to me: she means "Malcolm X".

Am I just a dumb white girl or are there really people who refer to him as "Malcolm Ten"? (I am fully aware that the answer here could simply be: both.)

I just kept thinking: I know I haven't seen the Spike Lee movie, but I did read The Autobiography of Malcolm X when I was a kid and really into anything Alex Haley did.... when did I miss that?

In 1952, after his release from prison, Malcolm went to meet Elijah Muhammad in Chicago. It was soon after this that he changed his surname to "X". Malcolm explained the name by saying, The "X" is meant to symbolize the rejection of "slave-names" and the absence of an inherited African name to take its place. The "X" is also the brand that many slaves received on their upper arm. This rationale led many members of the Nation of Islam to change their surnames to X.
I remember hearing somewhere that Malcolm Little had a white ancestry somewhere back in his line, and used the X to refer to the nameless white man who raped his mother / grandmother / other female ancestor. I also remember hearing eventually that story was apocryphal. Perhaps it is, since I can't find anything about that now. But because I remember some teacher saying it, I would be willing to overlook that dubious origins of the story and accept that as an answer too.

But what I've never before heard - from anyone - is that the "X" was intended to mean "10". Despite one news anchor's statement to the contrary that I found. Anyone care to enlighten me? How did I miss this in school? Maybe Black History Month should not be the shortest month of the year.




Happy Kwanzaa to you and yours!


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Felis Nobby Blah

Posted on 12/25/2006 08:08:00 AM

Randy (to Catalina): ...At Christmas. You know, Felis Nobby Blah.

Catalina: That means nothing.

Randy: To you, maybe, but in American, that means "Christmas" in Mexican.





Stole today's post idea from Sexy. All I want for Christmas is some originality.

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate?
Oh that totally reminds me about the time that we had eggnog at a Christmas party and one of our friends was musing about how he "hasn't had eggnog in years" and doesn't "even know why I haven't had it in years" for like 20 minutes. Then someone finally handed him a glass of eggnog and he took a big swig, paused and exclaimed, "Ooooooooh! Nooooooow I remember why I don't drink eggnog!"

We waited with baited breath, "OK... why?"

*emphatically* "I don't like it!"

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just put them under the tree?

He always wraps them - even when the presents are carpenters clamps and cowboys hats... but sometimes the wrapped package is exactly the shape of a carpenters clamp or a cowboys hat - just with brightly colored Santas all over it. (I shudder to think what will happen if Santa ever brings a dog.) Oh, and he gets all his wrapping paper on after-Christmas clearance sales and nearly always has some lying around from last year, but every once in awhile he runs out and then the next year he forgets to look until Christmas Eve and then realizes he's all out of paper, so he has to wrap presents in aluminum foil or the Sunday comics.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
White, tiny ones... and if you do it right, you just outline all the lines in your house. No bushes or trees or anything. That's just the way it is.


4. Do you hang mistletoe?

I used to go out in the desert to get mistletoe when I was younger. But I'd bring it back and no one would be able to appropriately recognize it because it wasn't covered with that fakey green spray paint and plastic white berries. Out here, I wouldn't even know where to find real mistletoe.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

I can't stand having the decorations up for too long... mostly because we're too lazy to put the boxes they were stored in back in the attic when we know we'll just have to get them down again in a couple of weeks to put them away. So the boxes are stacked in the hallway. Eventually I will get too claustrophobic, blow a gasket and it'll all have to go back up - my husband just prays that this does not happen before the actual Christmas holiday.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Oh, I really love... what's that stuff called?... Oh yeah... I remember now - I think I got the recipe from my mother... It's called: Something I Don't Have to Cook.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

When I was sixteen, I had mononucleosis and my tonsils swelled up to the size of really slimy bananas. I had to be admitted to the hospital on Christmas Eve because they were starting to cut off my airway and make it difficult to breathe. On Christmas morning, this youngish (20s), grungy looking, skinny dude waddled into my room wearing a giant Christmas tree made from poster board which was draped over him like a sandwich board. It had lollipops taped all over it with Scotch tape. He instructed me to take one, and a la Stephen Wright, monotoned out "Christmas Cheer from the lab..." as he waddled away.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I don't remember what age or the circumstances around it... but I remember having a discussion with the ultimate result being my mom fessed up. I don't remember being all that devastated by it... because I'm pretty sure my mother included a "Yes, Virginia There Is a Santa Claus" speech along with the admission. Sorry, no huge crisis or sudden realization that "they lied to me, they all lied" and I then swore never to trust adults again. It just seemed like an "oh yeah, of course" moment. I think those are probably just part of growing up.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

No! Blasphemers!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

I really love choosing all one type of ornament and lights in only two colors. It appeals to the Crazy in my over-organized brain. But I grew up with a tradition where we each got a special, chu-chi ornament each year and I love those and am doing that for my daughter as well. So by the time those are all hung (I gotta lotta years of ornaments under my belt), there's not much point in trying to do any type of theme tree. In the version of my life that exists only in my head where I have a lot of money and half and again more space in my house, I would have a tree like this in the parlor, and a second tree for the family ornaments in a family room.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it?

Love it... and not just because this city comes to a standstill with less than an inch of snow and I don't have to go to work. Or maybe it is just because of that. You got some snow you don't want? Send it over here! I loves me some government shutdown.

12. Can you ice skate?

Yes. But I've never beaten any one's knee in with a lead pipe. (That reference reference is really too old to be funny, isn't it?)

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
There really are a lot. The one I've probably gotten the most use out of is a Digital Audio Player from my husband (he bought it before iPod completely took over the market) which I use. Every. Single. Day. Favorite probably came a month or two early in the form of a small squirmy, screaming, but healthy infant girl back in 2003. Oh.. and a bag full of cheese.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?

Peace, love, goodwill toward men... and avoiding people as much as possible, so I can continue to feel those things.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Mmmmm.... sugar cookies with that really sugar-y sweet frosting... decorated with those sugar sprinkles and jimmies... With sugar on top. In fact, you could just leave out the cookie part.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Santa coming down the street on a fire engine. Oh and going out to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas day.

17. What tops your tree?

I like a star - it's really the only way to go. But I have been looking for years, YEARS I tell you, to find an appropriate, non-tacky, non-Eat-at-Joe's-looking star that I like. The likelihood of that existing in the world is less believable than Santa Claus. So instead we have a spire. Definitely NOT an angel with a tree shoved up her ass.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

I'm not sure I can answer this either way and convince myself I'm being truthful.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Actually, it's an album. Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song. I want to pour his voice all over my pancakes. Am also partial to Johnny Mathis' It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

20. Candy canes?

Years ago, I would have said absolutely not. But now they have the non-peppermint flavored varieties.. mmmmmmm. Kids today have so many more benefits than when I was coming up.... sigh.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?

A Christmas Story. This is the movie Frank Capra would have made if he'd been alive in the 1980s. And I'm not just saying that because it started my tradition of #16 above and I don't cook on Christmas day.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Scrutineyes the Holiday

Posted on 12/24/2006 06:49:00 AM In:
Since all of them have been safely mailed and the appropriate people have seen it first (not that I don't love you, Interweb, it's just for... um... political reasons), I think it's safe to share this now. Here is our Christmas card for this year. (A stolen idea from a board game we own.) It begins thusly:




Instead of one of those letters that informs you of all the minute details you don’t care about which happened in our lives over the past year, we thought we’d do something different... and sum up the minute details you don’t care about in pictures. Well... "A" picture, to be exact.

----- or -----

NG got a new camera at work last month.


See if you can find:
  • Four balloons: (Red, Purple, Blue, and Yellow) KingofHearts and The Dormouse went to a Wiggles concert. The Yellow Wiggle called in sick.
  • Knife: KoH and Matt turned the backyard barbecue into a forge and began their blacksmithing careers. Neighbors were unimpressed.
  • Thermometer: Dormouse made her second trip to the emergency room with 106 degree fever. Sat in waiting room for three hours then left with no medical service provided. But the hospital felt it necessary to charge us for the visit anyway.
  • Misshapen Glass: KoH’s Valentine day gift to NG: a glassblowing class. Thereby adding to the myriad of Really Expensive Hobbies she wants to continue.
  • Alamo: KoH both remembered and visited it when he went to a conference in San Antonio (unlike Ozzie, however, he did not pee on it).
  • Gates BBQ Rub: NG discovered that there really is such a thing as good barbecue at her conference in Kansas City.
  • Diploma: KoH graduated from college. He received a $10,000 pen and $35,000 mug, making his tuition more than worth the cost, obviously.
  • Pink Slip: Because he graduated, KoH lost his job at the university and faced unemployment.
  • Gun: After an exhaustive world-wide job search, he finally did become gainfully employed - a mere 40 miles from where we already lived.
  • Rock: Visited Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Surprisingly, there’s no ferry but, according to The Dormouse, lots of great rocks.
  • Clippers: We stole some from a West Virginia farm while picking pumpkins at Halloween but returned them when we went back to cut down our Christmas tree.
  • Pacifier: After a lengthy bribery process, The Dormouse gave up her "bop" at bedtime.
  • Liberty Bell: Attended the 4th of July Fireworks Show in Philadelphia at the foot of the steps Rocky climbed. (But in a twist of fate, never actually saw fireworks.)
  • Computer: NG desktop-published her second real book soon to be sold on Amazon.com.
  • Same Computer: KoH began writing a novel. NG has yet to read it. He is miffed by this.
  • Still Same Computer: Sent KoH's son a computer this year to help him do his schoolwork. Jury is out as to whether he's doing any schoolwork or just using it to play video games.
  • $50 Bill: The IRS took 18 months to notice a $600 mistake on our 2004 taxes... and then gave us three weeks to pay up.
  • Baby Socks: We are getting ready to welcome Monica's baby (actually when I wrote that we were getting ready, by now we have not only welcomed her, but seen so many pictures she may have a future in modeling) – The Dormouse is excited to have someone to boss around.
  • Bear Magnet: The Dormouse’s never-ending quest to cover every wall in the house with stuff she made at "class day".
  • Skeletons: Dormouse discovered one of mom’s favorite musical obsessions – Oingo Boingo’s "Dead Man’s Party" Album.
  • Vitruvian Man: Successfully watched and read "The DaVinci Code" without losing our faith in Christ.
  • Three Candles: Dormouse turned three.
  • Pumpkin: She decided her birthday would be a costume party entitled "My Halloween Birthday".
  • Green Truck: KoH's beloved truck, El Sapito, broke irreparably.
  • Polka Dot: Purchased a new car, which NG immediately defaced with Polka Dots.
  • Turkey: We tasted our first deep fried Turkey for Thanksgiving and may never go back.
  • Tools: Remodeled the bathroom and created a downstairs music studio.
  • Diaper: Which we no longer use, because Dormouse managed to get herself potty trained.
  • Soda: Tasted our first Turkey & Gravy flavored soda – something you won’t mind missing.
  • Animal Crackers: Visited the new baby Panda at the National Zoo – multiple times.
  • Lady Bug: Attended the Bug Faire (yes, it’s spelled with an "e") in State College, Pennsylvania.
  • Misty Book: Went camping on Assateague Island - fed wild deer and begged ponies to come dine with us.
  • CD: Saw Gladys Knight – no Pips – with friend Donna.
  • Bonsai Gardener: The Dormouse’s B.F.F., Linnea, moved to Japan. Sniff!
  • Dickens: Saw our friend Judy and her family in a production of A Christmas Carol.
  • Canned Chicken: Dormouse’s new obsession: Chick-fil-A. Her parents' new obsession: avoiding Chick-fil-A.
  • Laurel Wreath: Went to the Renaissance Faire and KoH won prizes in the feats of strength.
  • Chain Mail: Another of KoH's Seriously Abnormal Hobbies.
  • Same Chain Mail: KoH's son: obsessed with the Eragon books and anxiously awaiting release of the movie.
  • Violin: NG began her fifth season with a local orchestra.
  • Fire Truck: Almost burned the house down. Thank heavens for firemen.

Merry Kwanzhannakristmacafestidan and Happy New Year!

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More Clever Than F*** You

Posted on 12/23/2006 04:13:00 AM
The Dormouse has been in the stage where she repeats everything she hears for some time now. We've known since before she was born that we need to clean up our language - less because we knew a baby was coming and more because we should just be more creative speakers than to use the same arsenal of six words all the time. It reminds me of the oh-so-sage advice my mother gave me when I was 15 or 16-ish... "Don't swear honey... it sounds like hell." She was joking, but you get the point.

But even given that, we still have a hard time on the actual follow-through. Between KingofHeart's anger issues and my addiction to the television, she's repeated some fairly inappropriate things. Which isn't to say we aren't doing a better job with curbing our speech patterns and keeping the adult-themed movies for after bedtime, but every so often there's a slip and then I find myself having to explain to her why "we don't say things like 'damn'." and feeling like a total hypocrite because, damn, she just heard me say damn and now I'm telling her that we don't say damn, when clearly, I do say damn... sometimes. Damn.

We've had pretty good success by not reacting too much to the word we don't want her to use and just giving her something different to say that sounds funny. If she gets a kick out of the new word, the old one will pale by comparison.

Some of the replacement phrases we've come up with so far:

"We don't say ____, we say:


"'Hmhhmmhm' " (a la Marge Simpson)
"Holy Moly!"

"Ratz!"
"Holy Schneike!"
"Oh! My! What. In. My. Life!"

"Oh maaan!" (appropriate inflection here cannot be adequately described in print)

She's getting old enough that she's asking unsolicited questions now about appropriate words - trying to figure it all out in her mind. The problem is, she's already reasoning way above me.

"Momma, is it okay to say 'stupid'?"

"No honey, it's not nice to call someone 'stupid'."

That will then backfire on me later when I tell KoH in front of her that I saw the video for that Pink song 'Stupid Girl' and the Language Police is suddenly on my case: "Momma!! We don't say that word. That is not a nice word."

*backpedalling* "Well... um... it's not nice to call someone stupid, but um.... *stammer* stupid is an adjective... and um... sometimes it's okay to say it when we're talking about something... but er... just not about someone."


Yeah. Try getting a three year old to understand that.

"Momma, is 'gads' a bad word?"

"Well, I sometimes say 'gads' and it's not really a bad word per se. I suppose thought, that it's not really the best thing you could say. It would probably be better to say something else if you can think of it. Like you know... how Daddy says 'Holy Moly!'"

Later to dad: "Only Momma and I say 'gads', Daddy... you say 'Holy Moly!'"

The KingofHearts is much less judicious about it all and simply tries to keep one step ahead of her by changing expressions more often than he changes his shoes. A few weeks ago while driving in the car, another driver pulled out in front of us. KoH wanted to say what we all want to say, but instead curbed himself and invented a new, PG-rated insult. "Stupid Freakin' Cow!", he yells, shaking his fist at the offending car.

The Dormouse repeats, "Snoopy Stinky Cow!"


This is now our new favorite insult. We use it all the time.

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Toyland Toyland

Posted on 12/22/2006 06:20:00 AM
In a parking lot after shopping the other day, I opened the car door for The Dormouse to get into her car seat. She took the opportunity to squirt past my reach and climb up into the front seat and play with the steering wheel. And. Would. Not. Come. Back. I'm standing there holding the door and the groceries and I couldn't reach her, so I yelled into the car, "You get in your car seat by the time I count to three... One... Two..."

Behind me, a man in a trench coat was walking by. He looked over my shoulder and said dryly, "Does that ever work?"

Actually it does. As much as I hate to hear those words come out of my mouth and the inevitable feeling like my grandmother every time I hear myself say them, I now know why our parents did things like that: they work.

I can ask, beg and plead until I'm blue in the face, but when I give The Dormouse a count, it seems to mark time in very small increments for her. She knows that there's a finite amount of time in which she needs to obey and exactly how much longer she has to complete the expected action. And since it works, I've begun to abuse it. Sometimes I don't even need to really follow through - I just say, "Do I have to count?" and she starts to move.

The other thing that works is what's come to be known in our house as The Great Toy Embargo of 2006. It started mostly because she was in the habit of just dumping all her toys out in a pile over and over. I explained that she had to take care of them, but she wasn't really interested in playing, just dumping them out and then stomping over them on the way out the door. We had discussions about how she needed to be responsible for her toys and take care of them, but she had so many it didn't seem to matter. After a particularly bad couple of weeks of behavior (Who coined the phrase Terrible Twos? It's the Threes that really get you.), finally out of sheer frustration, I sat her down and explained that every time she disobeyed, she would have a toy taken away. She could earn that toy back later if she did some of the things she was supposed to without arguing with mom and dad, but if she wanted to keep her toys, she'd need to start listening and doing what she was asked.

I wondered if I was asking too much of a three year old, because within days more than half of her toys were stored in my bedroom in plastic bins stacked as high as a person. But then, something wonderful happened. She started to actually see consequences of her actions. She started to connect the Getting the Toy Taken Away with the Doing the Wrong Thing. It didn't always get her to do what I asked when I asked it, but she did start to spontaneously do some things that she knew would be good without my asking. The jury in my head is still out as to whether I'm simply bribing her, but what I do know is that this current deal gives her more opportunity to get some positive, rather than negative, reinforcement. And, if nothing else, it's worth it to me not to constantly hear the sound of my voice yelling at her for one thing or another.

The other wonderful thing that happened was because she didn't have the opportunity to see every one of her toys in her room every day, it was a big deal to get one back. She'll actually play with it rather than dropping it on the floor and leaving it where it fell. When I announce that she's earned a toy back, we ceremoniously march into the bedroom where the plastic bins are stored. I open the top and she'll peer in and whisper, "Woooooow." with childhood wonderment. She warily thinks it over and chooses exactly the toy that she needs at that moment. Then reaches in and slowly, carefully selects and extracts the needed toy. Then she immediately takes it to her room to decide exactly what drawer of the toy chest that toy should now live in. She vigilantly puts it where it now 'belongs'. And because she chose the place the toy would be kept, she now knows where to put it back when she was done playing with it. And does... almost every time.

I'm a minimalist when it comes to toys. Her friends have entire rooms (sometimes multiple rooms) dedicated to holding space for the paraphernalia that comes with being a child. It's not that I begrudge other families' buying things for their kids, I just don't think kids need That. Much. Stuff.

What I notice mostly when we're at one of these houses is that the kids don't really use any of them, they just pull everything out and drop it on the floor, one by one. Playtime turns into methodical destruction. With just a few toys, it's reasonable to ask her to pick up her own things, but with entire room(s) of toys, it becomes something that she'll never be able to do on her own. And because it's such an onerous task for a toddler to put that many toys away when the demolition is over, the parents are always the ones to clean up. Perhaps I'm just being selfish.

It's not that I don't want my child to have things, but we live in a small house with limited storage space and I don't have a second room available to simply shove all that stuff behind a door and close it. When The Dormouse goes to bed, the floor around it has to basically be picked up - otherwise, she'll stay up all night. She has a lot of things - gifts from relatives, hand-me-downs from friends - but as her parents, we have actually purchased very few toys. When we want to do something special for an event, we tend to DO more than BUY. I hope that this is creating memories for her. I know that the toys will eventually break and be discarded, so in my design, when she's grown, she'll still have what she remembers of our family and hopefully, those will be looked back on fondly and contribute to the happy, well-rounded person she'll become. But mostly I just don't want to pick up all those toys.

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Welcome Marielle!

Posted on 12/21/2006 09:56:00 AM
I have been incredibly remiss in posting something here about Monica, perhaps because as she graciously entrusted me with the updating of her blog while she was in the hospital, I was drunk with the weighty responsibility and heady giddiness that that kind of power unfailingly brings. Also, I was paralyzed with fear of not keeping up her usual standards.

Monica: "Oh please woman, you posted TWO THINGS and I TOLD you what to say in both of them."

NG: "But it was Haaaard!"


Anyway, for the one of you who didn't come to this website from hers and therefore haven't already seen multiple cute pictures, heeeeere's Marielle:



Here's some graffiti in their room that still remains to this day. Who can resist a cute picture of a dogchild?

And here is Marielle's Dad (Are you used to THAT yet, Barry?) holding her up for The Dormouse, who was not allowed into the maternity ward, to see through the window. You can't see it, but behind him, Monica is desperately trying to hand us a chicken sandwich through the window, because she's concerned that it won't get eaten and she might not get her money's worth from her $89,000 hospital stay. Note to hospital employees: What part of "I'm a vegetarian" is so hard to understand?

The most hilarious thing about that day, however, was the decorations on the room doors that the um... nurses?... candy stripers?... put up to make The Birthing Inn more festive for the upcoming Christmas holiday:


I'm hoping that the "TBI" referred to here is meant to be an acronym for "The Birthing Inn" and not "Traumatic Brain Injury", like it is in most hospitals. Because that definition of 'good' is probably a whole different thing.

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A One Hose Open Sleigh

Posted on 12/21/2006 06:15:00 AM
For the past three years or so, every time a fire truck drives by with sirens blaring, wherever we may be, The Dormouse suddenly becomes inappropriately excited, jumping up and down and screaming at the top of her lungs:

"EEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! I saw it. I saw it! I SAAAAW IIIIIT!!!

"I SAW SANTA'S SLEIGH."

It's actually a little embarrassing.

But the reason she equates a fire engine with Santa's sleigh can be easily explained. Here's what came down our street last night:



One of the things I like best about my neighborhood (one of the only things I like about my neighborhood) is the volunteer fire department that is close by. Long before they saved our house from burning down, they endeared themselves to me and mine by doing this each year. They drive through the neighborhood with sirens blaring and Santa atop the hook and ladder truck, while the other members of the department hang off the back of the engines and hop down to run up to the kids in their yards and hand them a candy cane.

I love firemen.


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Deck the Boughs

Posted on 12/20/2006 07:06:00 AM
It was mentioned to me by several people that while I had plenty of "before" pictures of the tree and tree cutting process yesterday, I was seriously lacking in the "after" department. I guess I got so caught up in the maiming and defacing of mother nature, I forgot to brag about how I improved upon it.

And so I shall rectify that here now, by presenting for your enjoyment:

The tree topper:
The view outside the window:
We have a tradition in my family: each year one special ornament is purchased for each child, which, as tradition goes, he/she will keep forever and lovingly remember Christmases Past each year while decorating the tree and putting up the special ornaments. (Oh, and also have an arsenal of ornaments when she gets married in order to make her spouse feel that she's brought more to the marraige than he has. Or is that part just about me?.)
Anyway, this is The Dormouse's ornament this year:
This was her ornament last year. She was obsessed with "twinkle stars" and "jingle bells" at the time so it seemed appropriate... and unbreakable, unlike my less-than-wise purchase this year:
This was my ornament from the year *I* was three:

And, finally, the full view of The Tree We Cut Down:

And the one we went to all the trouble for; the one who enjoys it most:


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Choppin' Down the Christmas Tree

Posted on 12/19/2006 03:03:00 AM
In our ongoing quest to create at least a few memories for our child that don't involve one or both of her parents being sarcastic or cynical, we decided to have a real Christmas-y family outing last weekend: we went to cut down our very own Christmas tree.

Back in October, when we were tooling around the countryside in West Virginia one weekend, looking for new places to live (we're not really moving, we just fell off The City that weekend and had to take a break before getting right back on), we happened upon a farm that boasted the opportunity to Pick Your Own Pumpkins. We stopped in to inquire how the process works - neither of us is really "city people" originally, but we are from the West, where we tended to... more... ahem... sneak onto farms at night and steal the pumpkins, rather than actually walk in like fine upstanding citizens and pay for them. So we inquired of the folks working in the hut at the front of the entrance, "How much does it cost to pick our own pumpkins?" We were handed a set of clippers and directed to the pumpkin field with an "Ummm.... big ones are about $6, little ones about $3.... everything else is somewhere in between." which I interpreted as 'we'll weigh them all and then tell you what they cost.'

But no, they were serious. After we showed up with our plentiful pumpkin pull, credit card in hand, they really did pick them up one by one and go, "Well... that one's pretty small, $3; I'd say that one is big, $6. That one is kind of inbetween, hmmm... $4.75." It was hilarious... and we ended up bringing home half a dozen pumpkins for about $25. We said to each other, "This place is awesome, we should find a reason to come back."

While we were there, we noticed that part of the farm was also dedicated to growing Christmas trees. We loved the place so much, we took a card so we could maybe find our way back come December to cut down our own tree. Then we loaded our pumpkin prizes into the car and drove the two hours back home. Upon pulling into our driveway, the KingofHearts noticed something in his pocket: the clippers from the farm.

He'd stolen the clippers from the farm.

I felt badly about it and he promised to mail them back (we had their address on the business card, after all) to keep me from forcing him to immediately drive back two hours and return them. But, of course, he never actually got around to mailing them, so when it came time to talk about getting a tree for Christmas, I insisted that we go back there to cut down a tree and return the clippers. It was the least we could do. I know... my guiltless, theiving, childhood conscience would be ashamed of the fine, upstanding citizen I've become.

Anyway, it just so turned out that a friend in West Virginia was starring as Mrs. Cratchet in her church's production of A Christmas Carol, so we turned it into an all Christmas, all the time, weekend. Tickets to the play included a formal-ish lunch, so we dressed up in our Christmas-y best to attend a dinner theatre and hyped up The Dormouse with, "We're going to go see a play! Woo hoo, a play! We love plays!" She couldn't have been more excited. At least until somewhere after Mr. Scrooge's visit from Jacob Marley, when it finally occurred to her that a "play" turned out to be not exactly what she expected. I don't think she'll soon forgive us the fact that she was not allowed to actually "play" and she had to stay down off the stage and not touch any of the cool toys or costumes or dress up like the rest of the people.

Ultimately, it was an adorable production and she was a pretty good theatre-goer, only stealing the show from the actors twice. The first time was when the Ghost of Chrismas Future pointed and uttered his Lurch-from-The-Addams-Family-like "Urrrrrrrrrr!" and she loudly announced "Ghost! Wooooo ooooo!"; and once again when Scrooge woke up on Christmas morning, laughing and dancing around because he hadn't missed it afterall - she squealed with delight and yelled at the top of her lungs, "So silly! He's a funny man.", which I think even made Scrooge break character for a second.

Afterwards, we went back to the farm with our tails between our legs and first returned the clippers. The woman there said, "Thanks for brining them back" and gave us that day late and dollar short look that seemed to say, a lot of good they'll do us now, bitch, you think we can use these to cut down trees?

My conscience quelled, we headed out to the Christmas tree area of the farm, where we spent hours looking for the best, the straightest, the most perfectly shaped, the quintessential perfect Christmas tree. Once discovered, we stood back and admired it's beauty, praised the Maker of all things nature and lovely in the world... then KoH pulled out the saw he'd been given at the entrance and we cut the sucker down.

Let's hear it for the meaning of Christmas.


KoH sawed and sawed and sawed some more until he got through the tree. He moved back to yell "timber" and look up as it fell.

It still stood upright.

He looked at me and blinked a couple of times, then reached up and pushed on the trunk and it went toppling over. I think it may have been trying to tell us something, but we patently ignored any whisperings from nature that might have drawn attention to the irony of this whole Christmas tree custom.

We dragged the tree back to the front of the farm to be measured and paid. It ended up being quite a bit more expensive than half a dozen pumpkins, by the way. They suck you in with the cheap pumpkins, then you gotta pony up the dough for a five and a half foot tree with a two and a half foot long rougue branch sticking out at the top. "Looks like that's about eight feet... that'll be $50 please."

We asked them to wrap it up for transport and it was handed to a Humorless Farm Worker, who stuck the tree through the smaller of two orange barrels in the hut and out the other side where it emerged, covered in that plastic, seagull trapping wrap, ready to be tied to the top of NotAnSUV.
The Dormouse entertained herself by playing near the larger of the orange barrels as KoH tried to chat up the man taking our money.

KoH: "Do you own this farm?"

Humorless farm worker: "No, I just work here."

KoH: "Oh really? Who owns it?"

Humorless farm worker: "The guy I work for."

*blink*

KoH: *trying again* "What do you use the bigger of the orange barrels for?"

Humorless farm worker: "Bigger trees."

OK, so it wasn't a Norman Rockwell Christmas Outing. But I'm reasonably sure that it's as close as we'll ever get.

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Vomit Soda

Posted on 12/18/2006 09:43:00 AM
The KingofHearts saw a special on the Food Network a few days ago which included a segment about this company who, trying to combat waning sales for their product during the winter months, came up with this idea to sell more product around the holidays. They hired a company to develop some wholly new and novelty flavor experiences to add to their soda. The concept was Thanksgiving Dinner in a soda.

"Sounds yucky," says I.

"Yeah, I know... but I still want to try them; I'm curious," he insists.

So when I saw a package of them at Target the other day, I couldn't resist. Turkey & Gravy flavored soda, what a treat! Plus, some of the proceeds from the holiday packs benefit
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center and Toys for Tots. The result was something akin to the Harry Potter Every Flavor Beans where they managed to come up with jelly beans that taste like snot and vomit - and even though you may have never tasted snot and vomit, you go "Um... yeah... that's what it probably tastes like."

So that night, the soda having been properly chilled, we ceremoniously gathered 'round the table like snooty adults at a wine tasting with five flavors of soda and two shot glasses. What followed was a flavor extravaganza not soon to be forgotten.

First course: Turkey & Gravy Soda

Oddly enough... I thought this did actually taste like Turkey & Gravy (KoH did not). We argued about whether or not the flavor name was accurate, where you tasted it on the palate, whether you got most of the gravy taste with the body of the soda, on the finish, or just fooled yourself into it because of the bouquet. But ultimately.... carbonated, sweet gravy? Just wrong.

Second course: Sweet Potato Soda
This one tasted like really, really sweet kids' medicine. Not horrible. But not good either. The real problem is it smells like ass. So you're already prepared not to like it. It's like if you made candied yams with one yam and seven large bags of marshmallows along with 17 cups of brown sugar.


Third course: Dinner Roll Soda

This was by far the strangest. It didn't taste like dinner rolls, but it did - if dinner rolls were made with sugar instead of yeast and also incorporated baking soda and vinegar to make them fizz in your mouth.

Fourth course: Pea Soda
By this course, we are no longer pouring full shot glasses of soda. Each successive sample is being dispensed in smaller and smaller amounts. Fortunate that, because I cannot adequately describe how incredibly bad this one was. Even though we barely consumed a tablespoon of this, we both felt the immediate need to spray Lemon Pledge into our mouths, hoping to block out the taste. Ultimately we agreed that the name should have been "Vomit Soda" both because that's what it tasted like and that's what it made us both want to do.

Final course: Antacid Flavored Soda
If you have ever mixed Pepto-Bismol with 7-Up, you'll know exactly what this tastes like. It was not all that bad. My only regret is that one of the ingredients wasn't actually antacid because after the Pea Soda, I needed it.


According to the company's website: "Packs will be available, in very limited quantities, beginning the week of November 7th. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!"

What a shame.


The end of the story is that I have five only-slightly-used bottles of soda in my refrigerator. Anyone up for Christmas dinner at my house?

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I Hate You Too is Not a Good Parental Response

Posted on 12/16/2006 08:11:00 AM
I got my first "I hate you" from my three year old this week. I know she probably picked it up from another kid and most likely, she doesn't even really know what those three words meant, much less how they stuck a knife in my heart and slowly twisted.

She's been obsessed this week with "the stage" and has tried to climb on everything she could, announcing to the world "I'm on a stage" and dancing around. This has resulted in her falling off multiple things and times: her bed, several chairs, back of the couch, the kitchen table, ledge by the bay window, cat post... and making her body look like a bruise collection, boasting different sizes and colors.

Yesterday, she was trying to climb up on a popcorn tin with about enough room for one of her feet and not much extra for moving feet around. I told her in as calm a voice as I could that she needed to get off of it before she fell again and got hurt... like when she fell off the table twenty minutes ago. She looked me right in the eye and said, "No!... I hate you!"


I'll admit it... the greater part of my psyche wanted to yell back "I hate you too, you little brat! Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!" and stick my tongue out. Then next biggest part of me just wanted to smack her little bottom; I don't care if it is sweet and precious. For some strange reason, logic took hold and I was able to step outside of my brain for a second. In a quiet voice, I sent her to her room and took a break before responding, which probably surprised her more than anything else I could have done. Then I came back when I'd had a moment to calm down and we had a long discussion about what those words mean and why we don't say them to each other. At the end of it all, she said, "I'm sorry momma, I don't hate you right now." OK, maybe not exactly what I was looking for, but I'll take it.

I knew that this day would come, but I was hoping to put it off for at least a few more years. I fully expect an eight year old to resort to insults in a moment of extreme frustration, but honestly did not expect her to be doing this at three.

What does this say for when she's sixteen? I'm going back to bed now.

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Eight Crazy Toys for Tots

Posted on 12/15/2006 12:24:00 PM
In celebration of the beginning of Hanukkah, here's a story that, admittedly, is not mine. It was shared by a friend. Hilarious, nonetheless.

Mom and daugther were in the store the other day and walked by a Toys for Tots donations barrel.

D: "Mommy, What's that?"

M: "Oh, that's for Toys for Tots donations."

D: "What's that?"

M: "Well, people can donate new toys, which are then given to kids who wouldn't normally get toys for Christmas."

D: "Oh, you mean like the Hanukkah kids?"

Turns out, the Suzy's Zoo animals are Jewish. Who knew?



Happy Hanukkah Everyone!

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Breakin' the Rules

Posted on 12/13/2006 12:23:00 PM
"Oof. Now you say 'Oof' Momma."

"Oof."

"Boof.... Now you say 'Boof'."

"Boof."

"OK - go again momma."

"Boof."

"No! That's not right... Say 'Oof'!"

"How do I know which one to say?"

"Just say 'Boof'."

"Moof."


"No, 'Boof'!"

"What if I don't want to say Boof? What if I want to say Koof?"

"You don't. You say 'Boof'."

"Doof.... Troof... Proof?"

*heavy sigh* "Momma, you don't know how to play this game very well, do you?"

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Another Lameo Meme

Posted on 12/12/2006 09:33:00 AM In:
You may only type one word. No explanations.

Yourself: NG
Your partner: entertaining
Your hair: stringy
Your Father: far

Your Mother: farther
Your Favorite Item: violin
Your dream last night: non-existant
Your Favorite Drink: Coke
Your Dream Car: Mustang
Your Dream Home: bigger
The Room You Are In: kitchen
Your Ex: pitiable
Your fear: deafness
Where you Want to be in Ten Years? here
Who you hung out with last night: family
What You're Not: social
Muffins: blueberry
One of Your Wish List Items: computer
Time: short
The Last Thing You Did: wake
What You Are Wearing: pjs
Your favorite weather: fall
Your Favorite Book: Fountainhead
Last thing you ate: chocolate
Your Life: good
Your mood: eh
Your Best Friends: funny
What are you thinking about right now: this
Your car: spotty
What are you doing at the moment: typing
Your summer: humid
Relationship status: practicemarriage
What is on your tv: forensics
What is the weather like: cool
When is the last time you laughed: today

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Georgie Peorgie

Posted on 12/11/2006 01:49:00 PM
Scene: We are eating at Chick-fil-A, tribute to all things obsessive. The Dormouse has been force fed the requisite four pieces of chicken and has gone into the play area and come back out seven times because there are no other kids in there and she realizes that the thing that really makes that play area exciting is having other children to boss around.

Finally, she sees another boy about her age wander into the play area and makes a beeline for the door, yelling "Lil boy! Lil boy! I want to play with you!"... way to eager to make a new friend. Approximately seventeen seconds later, the boy exits the play area, screaming bloody murder. While he makes a beeline for his parents, The Dormouse follows him out.

I'm only slightly concerned that she's hit him or something, but mostly I think she might be able to shed some light on what happened, since neither or us saw it and he is way to distraught to form words and senteneces at this point. (Later, we figured out that he bumped his head sliding down the slide sideways.)

Me: "What happened to the boy, honey?"

Dormouse: "I didn't hit him...."

Me: "OK. But what did happen?"

Dormouse defensively: "I didn't kiss him either!"

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She Who Now May Mock Him On Her Blog

Posted on 12/08/2006 12:11:00 PM In:
As much as it pains me, I've often tried to... not censor myself, per se... let's just say that I'd like to be as kind as I possibly can with other people's feelings when writing for this website. There are a lot of things I want to write about, but then I think of the people who read this regularly (or worse yet, the people I know who might have stumbled on this unbeknownst to me) and the hurt feelings my sarcasm, which doesn't transfer well into print, might cause.

Somedays, I want this website to be just as brutally honest and true-to-life as it can be and I think 'Offend them all! Salt the Earth. Let God sort out the rest.' But when I really consider whatever fallout there might be from telling a less-than-flattering story about or my differences of opinion with a friend or relative and ask myself the question, "Is it worth it?" Is it worth the inevitable fight that will be caused and the hurt to the relationship - and I think we all know, if I'm one of the people involved, that relationship to begin with was tenuous at best - and is my allegiance to the Interweb stronger than to these people who are in and share my life? And I'd say about, oh... 73% of the time, it is not. Sorry, Interweb, that's just the way it is.

Although I know this will come as a suprise to him, one of the places where I work the hardest on this is with my husband. One day a few years ago while I was speaking in church, I publicly expressed my love for him and for the fun he brings into my life and I apologized for what I termed 'making fun of him way too often'. There was chuckling from the congragation and I finished my talk and sat down. The next person stood to speak after me and, commenting on my dialogue, said, "I notice that while she apologized for making fun of him, she did not say that she wouldn't do it again."

It's true. He's a funny guy and there are just things he says and does that Must. Be. Shared. Who could expect me to deprive the world from knowing stories like this? No one, that's who.

But when writing about The KingofHearts, I really do try to stick to The Funny and not just the things that piss me off or that will intentionally make him look like a bumbling fool. He's a brilliant, kind, entertaining person and I love him more today than the day we married... which only seems like twenty years ago. (No, I won't ever let you live that one down.) I think in any marriage, it's important to remember the real picture: that the relationship is something bigger than who left the toilet seat up or underwear on the floor - even during the inevitable arguments you'll have about those exact things.

All that having been said, I've just learned that KoH and his little circle of friends have been referring to me behind my back as "She Who Shall Not Be Named."

All bets are off now.

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Inappropriate Songs (volume 6)

Posted on 12/07/2006 12:29:00 PM In:
Part of Your World (Ariel's refrain from The Little Mermaid)

Sung this way by a three year old:

Look at this stuff
Isn't it neat?
Wouldn't you think
my collection's complete?
Wouldn't you think
I'm the girl
The girl who's not everything?

It's actually "the girl who's got everything"... every word right but one. I wonder if you can purchase self-esteem in the interweb?

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And Bells on Her Toes

Posted on 12/06/2006 09:19:00 AM
Getting ready to go visit our friend Monica, The Dormouse suddenly was unable to exit across the threshold because she'd forgotten her three plastic rings. I didn't want to bother because she'd probably lose them between here and there anyway. Mostly, I didn't want to spend an hour looking for them amidst the mountain of toys I thought they were under. "Why don't you just leave them here, hon? You don't need them for what we're going to do."

"But I need my rings, Momma.... because Monica likes to see me in my rings."

Needless to say, we went back and found the rings.

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Wordsmithing

Posted on 12/05/2006 09:30:00 AM
This happened as I was preparing yesterday's post.

Me to KingofHearts: "What are some of the other made-up words that The Dormouse uses?"

KoH: "What do you mean?"

Me: "You know, when she wants to say something but doesn't know the word so she just makes one up herself. I'm still trying to figure out what 'speegabo' means, by the way."

KoH: "Me too. Why?"

Me: "I'm writing a list of them for a blog post."

KoH: "Hmmmm.... can't think of any off the top of my head."
He looks at The Dormouse and holds up the remote control for the television. "What's this baby?"

D: "Mote control."

KoH: "What's this?" Holds up a pen.

D: "Pen."

KoH: "What's this?" Holds up a pen cap.

D: "Top of the pen."

KoH: "What's this?" Holds up a slipper.

D: "Slipper."

KoH: "What's this?" Holds up the padlock for the fish tank.

D: "Lock and key."


KoH: *now he's really just trying to trip her up* "What's this?" Holds up a coaster with a DeGrazia painting of an indian child on it.

D: "Little girl"


KoH: *sighs and turns coaster around so she can't see the picture* "Now what is it?"

D: *rolls eyes as she leaves the room* "Flat."

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Speaking in Tongues

Posted on 12/04/2006 01:01:00 PM
One of the things I admire the most about The Dormouse is her ability to think on her feet and commit to saying the thoughts that are inside her head even though she knows she doesn't have the complete language to express them.

She'll begin a sentence and sometime in the middle of it, realize she does not know the word for what she is about to say. But does that stop her? No. Does she pause and trail off? No. Does she stop to ask what the word is? No. She commits to it fully and simply invents a word without missing a beat in her sentence, completely impervious to the fact that the word might not be the right one. She's so confident that when we go, "Uh... whaaaa??!?", she repeats the made-up word like we're the dumb ones and how could we not know what a speegabo is?

This is a relatively new phenomenon. When she was about two, she was already talking quite a bit and someone asked me what was the funniest word that we use in our house that wasn't really a word.

"Huh?" I questioned.

"You know, like words that she says wrong or can't say so you all just use the new word like it's a real one and after awhile even the adults forget that it's not a real word... like 'pasghetti'... or... with my daughter it was 'mate-mo' for tomato."

"Uh... she just always says the right word. I can't really think of one that applies. I guess back before she was talking at all, she said 'bop' for 'pacifier'... is that what you mean?" I stammered back, confused, because in my mind, I'm thinking WHAT DEVELOPMENTAL STAGE IS MY CHILD MISSING OUT ON NOW??!?

"No." *looks at me like I'm either lying or being one of those 'my child already knows everything' mommies* "Oh, I just thought every kid had some of those moments." *quick change of subject*

I wasn't lying. Until about three months ago, except for the 'bop' thing, The Dormouse had a pretty big vocabulary for her relative sphere of interest. There simply weren't many things she wanted to say for which she didn't know the word. She has always been a very verbal kid - most likely she gets that from her parents, who are both hyperverbal themselves. When she was an infant and I was home with her by myself all day, I simply talked incessantly to her to amuse myself. "OK, now is the period of the day when you get to experience a diaper change, so you get to travel all the way up to the uppermost surface in the room, the changing table, and then I would appreciate it if you could wait patiently while I reach over onto the shelf and get some diaper cream and this stuff has zinc oxide in it which is supposed to be really good for diaper rash and other kinds of skin irritations so you ought to like that and remember not to kick momma in the face because that's not appropriate behavior..." all in a sing-songy voice. I'm sure I sounded ridiculous but it kept me from going crazy in those early weeks when I had absolutely no adult conversation whatsoever.

Maybe it's that or just her father's genes, but she processes everything verbally. Which is great for us... it's always easy to know what she's thinking because whatever it is simply falls out of her mouth in an endless stream of expression. But now her interests and experience are expanding so much faster than her vocabulary that she doesn't always have the word for what she wants to talk about.

Yesterday, this excited emination came from the breakfast table: "Mom! Look! Look! I see a cat who looks just like our cat; right there on the numberdot!" She was pointing to a picture of a cat on the calendar.

Some other words that only make sense in Wonderland:

numberdot = calendar
bop = pacifier
poc-shank = yard arm (like on a ship, doesn't every 3 year old talk about this?)
oneabeswingdatonorpor is planet number four = Mars
waterhole = harbor
smorgabridge = parking garage
peopo tunnel = bridge
juggerations = decorations
nopic = please stop doing that, I'm mildy irritated by it
dai-eer = deer
toypool = aquarium
scoopajammer = ice cream scoop
quock the scoopajammer = take the ice cream out of the ice cream scoop
beedlebopper = bannister
clip clops = barrettes
budgie bones = bean bag chair

Perhaps I will create my own dictionary and start a new language all my own.

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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