Saturday, March 28, 2009

Scaring the shit out of your 5-year-old in three easy steps

This really is a simple-to-follow plan for anybody who thinks their 5-year-old has lived in the innocence of childhood long enough and needs to begin learning the harsh realities of life.

1. Show your child a dead squirrel in the middle of the road with its brains splashed out all over the place. Say that could happen to her if she were hit by a car, although she's been trained from birth never to run into the street and has never violated this cardinal rule.

2. When she begins to ask very difficult questions (i.e. will the squirrel become undead, what will happen now, what about its little squirrel family) allow yourself to get deeper and deeper into the philosophy of death and its finality.

3. When you let your children watch Saturday morning cartoons in the basement while you watch an old movie upstairs, don't bother to check what comes on after CareBears. Even when your 5-year-old's baby sister comes upstairs, just assume everything is totally fine and don't worry that an infomercial about cleft lip might be frightening your little girl very, very badly. I'd like to extend a special thanks network TV for this. I don't know why we don't rely on you more often.

After this, your child should be sufficiently afraid of pretty much everything. While you watch the end of your movie, which just might be the 1977 Jane Fonda film, "Julia," she should hear Jane Fonda get a little panicky about babies in a bakery and just assume the French baguettes the baker is holding are baby legs.

This is the end of your lesson on how to scare the shit out of your 5-year-old. I hope it helps.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I did it! I knew I could do it.

The girls and I are probably the greatest playground connoisseurs in Normal. It doesn't hurt that we have at least six playgrounds within a one-mile radius of our house.

There's the purple playground. The big playground. The dragon playground. The horsey playground. Carolyn's playground. It's a pretty varied selection.

Today, at the new playground (named after having just recently been built), Carolyn hit a milestone. She finally figured out the monkey bars. You know... The ones requiring you to swing from one bar to another. I've yet to see an adult master these but Carolyn had it down in about 10 minutes. Well... Five years and 10 minutes.

Totally cool and fun. And we even found a cluster of daffodils to make this whole spring experience really come together.

Too bad it's going to snow six inches tomorrow night. Ugh. I am done with winter.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Catching frogs

Not really. We were out in the field trying to catch some frogs. Trying, but not succeeding.

A farm definitely has its perks, and just to note, Carolyn just really loved being outside there. She wandered around for long stretches, playing her own games or creating her own imaginary scenarios.

I don't know for sure that's what she was doing, but that's what I did when I was a kid on a farm.

The best kids in the room. Today.

When your 3-year-old pees all over the McDonald's playset at the Chicagoland's toll road travel plaza, what do you do?

Well, when this happened to me early today, I tried as best I could to wipe in up, put on her sister's shoes, keep her from taking off her pants and grab my brand-new cup of Starbuck's tea as I tried to bribe them away from the super-fun slide and into the nearest bathroom without attracting any unnecessary attention.

Thank goodness she was wearing black pants. They are a lot more forgiving then the red shirt I was wearing, which got the brunt of her very wet crotch thrust against it.

This comes at the end of a short trip to Michigan the girls and I took this week. And really, I need to back up a little.

On the trip to Michigan, the girls were as good as I have ever seen them. They were polite to my friends. They were chatty, but not overly so. They were interested in the conversations. God bless the 3 and 5 year old siblings.

Early on the trip, I took them to my favorite fancy café in the even fancier St. Joseph. (I love me some beach towns.) The girls lovingly shared their soup and Carolyn ate more than half my salad. Penny finished lunch before us and she wandered around the table admiring the decor. As I was leaving, the employees behind he counter stopped me to say I had the best behaved children they had ever seen in there.

The best! I was giddy with pride and shock. I told them, shucks, the girls aren't always like this. And just so I wouldn't be a liar or anything, Penny screamed from the travel plaza's parking lot (she was under the impression we would return to playset. Oops!) until I paid the toll worker his 60 cents and threatened her with a blankie-free ride home.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good girls

I would just like to note that I feel really crappy today. I had horrible insomnia last night and a very, very busy day today with a visit to the library, a field trip to the Children's Museum, no napping and swimming later today.

So it's especially nice the girls have played together nicely for about TWO HOURS!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring cleanup

Every year I look in the backyard as spring approaches and think, "Who in the hell is going to clean this up? Who has the time, what with all the playgrounds to visit and bike rides to take." The answer will probably be me. This year seemed like an impossibly big task, evidenced by this poor Little People person, discovered among the wounded.

So I looked back at last year about this time, and it turns out this mess is probably less horrible than last year, which was much wetter. Sticks and mud are one thing. Reseeding a whole portion of our yard due to flood is another.

And plus, I already got the garage tackled. Mostly.

On to more exciting news, I wanted to mention Carolyn's recent obsession with Hannah Montana. She has never actually seen the show, but is recently in love with her music, or anything on the radio that resembles pink bubblegum or rainbow-colored unicorns. I'm not discouraging her new attraction, although I have no intention of letting her watch a show that focuses on the love lives of hot Disney stars, but I even let her create her own Hannah Montana Pandora station.

It is the worst, and I am in no way exaggerating, worst music I have ever heard. I think this is what getting old sounds like. But I can't help but smile a tiny bit as Carolyn "thumbs up" her favorite ear-piercing pop songs.

Rock on...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why can't I be a role model

I love my friend Courtney. She's super cool and beautiful and all that stuff people say about the women they admire.

So I loved to hear Carolyn's unexpected praise of Courtney yesterday. Just randomly, Carolyn started talking talking about her. When we asked what she meant, she said, "Courtney does everything."

Again, we asked her what she meant. She said, "She works at an airport and she's a firefighter. Also, she's a cooker at a restaurant."

While Courtney doesn't cook much as far as I know, much less for an audience, I think Carolyn believes Courtney catered her own wedding. Even still, I thought it was really awesome.

Also, I bought Carolyn her first pair of Nike sneakers today. When we were saying Grace, something we're all pretty new at doing, Carolyn kind of sped through the sign of the cross. I told her she didn't need to hurry, but she said her sneakers made her go extra fast.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm tired of running in the cold

Since giving up Facebook for Lent, I've had a lot of random thoughts and things happen that I haven't been able to share with the World(WideWeb). For instance, Steve and I attended an all day Christian Sexuality workshop in order to have our marriage blessed. We're getting "married" on March 22. We haven't registered for anything and would prefer checks. Thanks.

Speaking of March 22, that starts off spring break week. Now I'm thinking maybe I should again move up my Michigan trip to March 23 so I don't have to hear "Do I have school today?" from Carolyn 5,000 times a day. It would give me a chance to pick up those checks in person.

Carolyn got in trouble at swimming yesterday for telling Little Annie, who is just as cute as her name suggests, "You're not the boss of me."

While giving up Facebook has been relatively simple, giving up beer and wine has been much more difficult. Some might say this is a sign of alcoholism. I say I need the carbs because of all my hard-core training (see title).

I need just one more OK to buy those plane tickets I've got my eye on. Nonstop to California, baby!

Since I'm not on Facebook, I have much less communication with the outside world. While this is sort of sad, it did help me get up and go talk to the popular swim team moms yesterday. Anyway, please start e-mailing me. I feel sort of unloved.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Making it happen very, very slowly

This blog entry is not about the children. If you are here for them, I'd ask you to please move along.

Today, I passed my 21 manual skills competency test to get certified as a nursing assistant. Woohoo, right! That means I had to buy a pair of scrubs and perform certain tasks on real-live old people. The tester told me it usually takes between two and six hours, but I got mine done in an hour and a half. Why? Because I'm awesome.

This is slowly putting me the road to nursing school. Slowly, slowly. I've wanted to be a nurse ever since I was 15 years old and my dear friend, Heather, got me a job as a junior nursing assistant at Presbyterian Village. The trouble was, at the time, I was not very good at science, not very disciplined and more interested in boys than work.

Ehh. We all have faults.

So I retook Anatomy and Physiology (got an A), am getting re-certified as a CNA and will take a statistics class this fall to prepare for this once lost dream. But for the first time in... forever... I think this will be the time it works for me. I'll have everything (and I mean every tiny little thing) in order and it'll be the perfect time to do it.

Plus, I'll need the work once newspapers finally start closing down and Steve is home with me all day.

What a year this will be. I'll become Catholic. I'll get all my nursing stuff in order. I'll run a half marathon. Not having any friends might just be one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Friday, March 06, 2009

My girls are clueless. But in a good way

Carolyn's teacher had to talk to me yesterday, but not at all in a "your kid is the spawn of satan" kind of way. The teachers just wanted me to know they're not using the F-word to teach the Letter of the Week.

The kids were washing their hands in this giant communal sink, and they started saying things like, "You're cussing," and "Stop cussing."

Carolyn's witness to this and likes to get in the act. So she tells them to stop cussing. Next thing, Carolyn is asking her teacher, "What's cussing?" Love her, right!

So Ms. Casey says cussing is saying something that isn't nice. Fine. Carolyn goes back out to finish her hand washing, but then comes running back to her teacher all in a tither.

"Now they're cussing at me!"

Penny's little misunderstandings also lean on the side of super cute.

She's really into getting dressed. She gets dressed about 10 minutes after waking up, and puts on her jammies about 10 minutes after getting home for the night.

And not just that, but it's important that she match.

Yesterday, she wore her horizontally striped turtleneck with big blocks of bright rainbow colors with her new horizontally striped Valentine's Day pants with pencil-thin lines of pink and red stripes.

You might think these two items might clash, but they're both striped. The other day, she wore a shirt/pants combo because they both had butterflies on them. To Penny, these things totally mean matching — and are super, super cute.

Also, this non-matching type of matching is better than Carolyn's preference of wearing nothing but sweatpants.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The case of the missing Penelope Bunny

For those of you not in the know, Penelope Bunny is Carolyn's must-have favorite toy. She can't sleep without it and she sucks on her long, organic ears, which is pretty disgusting.

So last night when she couldn't find her, there was lots and lots of crying. Carolyn laid in bed, sobbing that she couldn't sleep without Penelope Bunny (nice name, huh!) while the real Penelope and I turned the house upside down.

You might not know it to look at her, but the real Penelope is very good at finding things. Just asking her where things are sometimes yields excellent results.

But after an hour, the search party called off the rescue efforts. Penny offered Carolyn other toys to sleep with, and even suggested some lovely music ("Do you want silly music, or soft music?"). Carolyn eventually cried herself to sleep and Penny eventually stopped calling me in ask if I had looked in the closet, or under the couch.

So this morning, I was a little surprised when Carolyn came running out of the room with Penelope Bunny. Turns out, she had stuffed her into a little toy castle — one that was on her bed the WHOLE time. Carolyn told this story in a fit of giggles while Penny and I looked at each other, shaking our heads.

* Note: This is Penelope Bunny on Christmas morning 2007 when Carolyn got her. I am SHOCKED that she was so pink, as she is barely white right now. But it's the only pic I have of her.