Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Perhaps not doing as much damage as I thought

Last week I had a bad day. The kind of day where the first thought I had upon gaining consciousness was why does she have to yell directly into my ear every. single. morning? I have no idea why my default mood was "crabby" that day. I am sure I could set forth several plausible theories: hormones, stress, bad night's sleep, the pollen count, itchy socks, the economy. But really it was just me having a cranky day and I could not shake it. Needless to say the first two hours of life with Mommy was basically a drag for my girls. I was much too intolerant of their usual breakfast table shenanigans and I raised my voice at them more than once. Suffice it to say the fuse was short.

As my mood inevitably started to wear off on the girls I turned my nastiness inward and started to guilt myself about the damage I was doing to my children like, right now. Damaging their poor little psyches and probably dooming their future relationships with my emotionally unbalanced outbursts. Just as I felt tears welling up Anna called across the room to me that she was going to draw a picture. I thought nothing of the announcement, Anna draws constantly.

A few minutes later she appeared with a colored pencil portrait of me, wearing exactly what I had on at the moment. In the picture, I was smiling. "Am I happy?" I asked Anna. "Of course you are, my little Poochie" she answered, using a pet name she's come up with recently. I let out a breath and watched my undamaged and totally not-doomed child go back to her sketch pad. She had just redeemed herself for the ear yelling.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Birthday party or torture session? You be the judge.

I've mentioned before that Anna loves older girls. This love borders on obsession and if she so much as hears a female voice outside she immediately plasters herself to a window to inspect the situation. Who is out there? Is it a girl? Is she big? Is she (hold breath)... six? Luckily for her we live on a cul-du-sac populated with girls. Next door alone are three of them ages 8 through 12, all blond and athletic and amazingly tolerant of Anna's attention. Across the court is another junior high school aged girl and next door to her, on the corner lives Lydia! In my mind her name contains an exclamation point because that is always how Anna says it. Actually it should be spelled *gasp*Lydia! but I am much too lazy to type all of that out just for sake of accurately depicting my child's insanity. But I digress.

Lydia! just turned seven and her birthday party was yesterday. We had gorgeous weather and as Lydia! has a pool in her backyard there were lots of kids running around in their bathing suits as they got their sugar highs on. At 1:00 pm sharp we grabbed Lydia!'s gift and headed across the street as the girls marveled at the unicorn pinata hanging from a tree. I thought Rachel's head was going to explode when she spotted the rented cotton candy and sno cone machines sitting under a tent in the front yard. "Mommy," she told me, "Lydia's party is sooooo beautiful and exciting." So far, so good.

So far, so good came to a screeching halt as we reached the backyard area and Rachel saw the dogs. Have I mentioned that Rachel is terrified of dogs? I must have left that out of my previous post because the very thought of Rachel in that much fear - irrational though it may be - just makes me a little sad. So there I stand in a festive backyard filled with people I've never met, one child knocking people over to get to her friend and another child wrapping every limb around my body as she screams bloody murder directly into my ear. Hi, nice to meet you. Happy birthday, kid, here's a shrieking three-year-old to help you celebrate.

Smiling in a vague apologetic manner I made my way over to the swingset/play area structure thingy (that IS the proper terminology right?) and set Rachel's tush on the highest spot I could reach so I could begin peeling her off of my body. I should pause here to explain that there were three dogs in the backyard, none of whom paid Rachel even the slightest attention: a tiny white fluff ball of a puppy, a perfectly cheerful floppy-eared spaniel and an ancient hound who barely had the energy to turn around and view the source of this ear-splitting racket. No sooner had I gotten Rachel to quiet down (in other words, whisper about how she didn't want the dogs near her rather than scream it) then the party moved to the front yard.

With a deep breath I gratefully moved out front, where the dogs were not allowed. Rachel's tears were dried and Anna and Lydia! were deep in discussion about the pinata. Two seconds later I look down the street and see a clown is exiting his vehicle. No, Dan was not home from work, this was actually a hired clown in a costume. He was far enough away that I thought I could safely point him out to Rachel and let her warm up to the idea before he was standing right in front of her in full makeup and costume. Rachel took one look and turned into a movie character. Eyes widened, mouth a horrified O, she turned right around and ran screaming for our front door across the court. I had seriously never seen her move that fast.

I spent the rest of the afternoon shuttling back and forth between Rachel in our house and Anna at the party. Rachel would not be convinced to go back and really she had no reason to because Lydia! and Anna made sure Rachel got cake and ice cream, a goody bag, a balloon creation (made by the clown but we didn't mention that) and a portion of the candy from the pinata. Also, the house without Anna? So quiet. And air-conditioned. Rachel is her mommy's daughter - she might have a little anxiety but she's no fool.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The 3-year-old's turn

Ten random things about Rachel:

1. Rachel insists on pretending her daily vitamins are gum.

2. She loves to make up stories about anything and everything. The most recent one she shared with me was about making soup out of grass and flowers and cat noses and tissue boxes so that we could eat it and go "eewwwwww!"

3. Rachel loves spicy food.

4. She sleeps with a Scooby Doo doll, a baby doll that she got for her 3rd birthday that she named Shauna, a red-headed doll she also named Shauna, and a pink care bear named... Shauna.

5. Rachel can fake cry very convincingly.

6. She has one long purple dress that she would wear every single day if we let her (and we seriously would if we didn't mind doing laundry every night). When that is unavailable she insists on "all pink."

7. If she doesn't want to do something her default excuse is "I'm ti-red."

8. Several months ago while trying on bike helmets I accidentally pinched Rachel under her chin with the clasp. Now whenever I help her put on her helmet she tells me not to hurt her again. Every. Single. Time.

9. Rachel prefers to sleep with no covers.

10. Rachel is learning that while Mommy and Daddy don't always give in to her crying tantrums, big sister Anna usually will.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Rachel stands in the kitchen with a banana peel in her hand. There is a very small piece of banana remaining. Even though Dan is standing right next to her Rachel yells to me, "Mommy, I don't want this." Dan tells her to go ahead and put it in the trash. Rachel ignores him and repeats herself. "Mommy! I DON'T WANT this." Dan tells her again to put it in the trash. "MOMMY! I DON'T. WANT. THIS!"

"Rachel, listen to Daddy." She happily pitches the peel into the trash and dances away.

This is not new to Dan. I almost typed "poor Dan" right there but I really don't think he minds most of the time. The exception of course might be when it happens in public.

A few weeks ago Dan was outside with the girls when the neighbors asked Anna to join in some game. She immediately announced that she had to ask Mommy and started to run inside. When Dan pointed out that she could just ask him, Anna responded with "I have to go" and came to find me in the kitchen.

My favorite part of these moments is when I remind the girls that Daddy is just as in charge as Mommy - and they laugh.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Self awareness

"Mommy," Rachel announced, "I'm the mommy and you are the kid, ok?"

Oh if only... but ok, I will play along. Besides, I see an opportunity here and decide to seize it.

"Mommmmmy," I call, "I'm hungry."
"Ok, what do you want?"
"I don't know. But I'm sooooo hungry. I want a snack right now!"
"Ok, I will get you a banana!" says Rachel.
"No! I don't want a banana. But I'm hungry and I want something right now."
"Um do you want some crackers?"
"Ok, I will make you dinner."
"No I don't want dinner, I want a snack. Now. Because I'm so hungry and it's taking you so long to get me my snack."

Suddenly Anna pops herself into my lap with a knowing smile. "Hey! Are you being ME?"

I certainly hope that admission is the first step to change when it comes to annoying unreasonable preschooler behavior. But I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ten random things about my 4-year-old

1. Anna had such a good experience with her first teeth cleaning that she wanted to be a dentist when she grows up.

2. This changed after her trip to SeaWorld in March and now she wants to be a whale trainer.

3. Anna is very proud of her artistic skills and when she's not sketching mermaids on every scrap of paper she can find she does very accurate portraits.

4. When she started eating solid foods Anna's favorite veggie was carrots. She ate so much that her nose turned orange for literally months.

5. The only two foods that Anna will now refuse to eat are raisins and... carrots.

6. She has amazing balance.

7. Any girl over the age of six is as magical to Anna as fairies and unicorns.

8. It is difficult for Anna to have her picture taken without striking a "rock star" pose. This usually involves turning sideways, throwing her hands behind her head or onto her hips, sticking one leg out and giving her best coy smile. It is three-quarters hilarious and one-quarter disturbing, at least to her mother.

9. Anna is afraid of only three things: dark, very loud noises (but only the ones not coming from her of course) and being completely alone.

10. She maintains that she wants to marry one of her classmates because "he's a nice boy and he's never naughty." Mommy and Daddy hope her taste in boys doesn't change too much.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Size war

To be filed under Made Me Laugh From Two Rooms Away

Dan was getting dressed the other morning when Anna came around the corner and noticed that he was not putting on anything casual.

"Why are you putting on those pants Daddy?"
"Because I have to go to work."
"Oh. You know I saw your tushy."
"You did?"
"Yes. Mommy's is bigger."