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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Nprdt_kandoo_wipes1We are knee-deep in potty training around here and I am as proud as a peacock at the strides that my daughter has made in such a short time.  She’s wearing Big Girl Underwear and running to the potty when she has to go.  “Baby” diapers are a thing of the past and we are using Seventh Generation training pants for nighttime and for long outings only.  I am happy that our days of contributing to the landfills with diapers (albeit chlorine-free diapers) are coming to a close.

I have always considered myself a Treehugger.  Almost to the point of being a killjoy.  “Stop frolicking in the sprinkler!  We’re wasting water!”  But I am giving in on this one.  Until the potty training is entirely complete, Kandoos will be a part of our lives.  They may not be good for the environment but they are good for my sanity.  Frankly, I don’t know how any society can consider itself civilized without them.  So for now I will happily consider myself a Tree High-Fiver.  For now…

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yhst-19693165039429_2067_6863169When my daughter was around 18 months old she became obsessed with the book, There was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly. I had never put much thought into the book or its theme but after reading it 30 times a day for several weeks I began to. And I didn’t like it. What bothered me more than the actual contents of the book (although those are disturbing) was the fact that it bothered me at all. Parents, caregivers and educators all over the world had been reading this book to children for the better part of a decade and had probably even had a good time doing it. But here I was, hiding the book beneath a couch cushion in hopes that my daughter would lose interest. When that didn’t work, it went beneath the actual couch and then finally to the Goodwill. What was my problem? For one thing, there are exactly zero elderly people who are a regular part of my daughter’s life. I really didn’t think that this madwoman should be her first introduction into their world- apparently a world where eating insects, house pets and farm animals is par for the course. And quite frankly, I didn’t want to start answering questions about death.

Well, I had forgotten all about this incident until this week when we checked out a new batch of books from the library. I was very pleased to see that one of the books that my daughter chose was Henny Penny (also known as Chicken Little), the story of the hen who believes the sky is falling and sets off with a gang of pals to tell the king about it. Ah, an old classic from my youth! Now we’re talkin’! Dora who? The Wiggles what? Diego where? We got home and settled in to read our new books and all was going swimmingly until we got to page 27. Before I knew what hit me, I had read the following:

“From that day to this Turkey Lurkey, Goosey Loosey, Duckey Lucky, Cocky Locky, and Henny Penny have never been seen again. And the King has never been told the sky is falling. But…  Foxy Loxy and Mrs. Foxy Loxy and their seven little foxes still remember the fine feast they had that day.”

Um, that is NOT the Henny Penny I remember from my youth. I looked at my daughter, whose mouth was agape, and tried to change the subject: “Hey! Let’s read Olivia!”  “Why did the foxes eat all of those birdies?”  “I don’t think they did, Honey. Do you want to read another book?”  “No, I think they did…”  Damn!

It’s not that I want to shield her from the world forever. But she’s only 3. She has a whole lifetime of cruel discoveries ahead of her. I’d like for reading time to be fun, relaxing and educational. It doesn’t have to be all fairies and teddy bears, but for now I’d prefer that none of the main characters consume one another during the course of the book. And that goes for both fowl-eating foxes and equine-eating grandmothers.

Hear_No_Evil,_Speak_No_Evil,_See_No_Evil

By the way, I see that Banned Books Week is coming up next month. I would like to nominate Henny Penny and There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly. Oh, that’s not what Banned Books Week is all about? Foiled again…

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BoywithQuestion_FullThree-year-olds are wonderful.  Their minds are like little sponges and each new day offers endless opportunities for learning, adventure and fun.  They are loving, independent, hilarious, and smart as whips.  They are also inquisitive.  Here is an example of a typical conversation that I might have on a car ride with my daughter:

“Mommy, is your dress brown?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Why?”

“I just felt like wearing a brown dress today.”

“But, why?”

“Well, I like the color brown and thought this would be a nice thing to wear today.”

“Why?”

“Um, different people like to wear different things and this is what I chose today.”

“Why?”

“Maybe we should have some Quiet Time for a little while.”

Even the very sweetest exchange can be shot dead in its tracks:

“Mommy, do you love me?”

“Of course I love you!”

“Why?”

“Because you’re my sweet girl.”

“Why?”

“I guess you were just made that way.”

“Why?”

“I’m not sure.  I guess Mommy just got lucky.”

“Why did you get lucky?”

“I guess I just did.  That’s all.”

“But why?”

“Do you wanna watch The Berenstain Bears?”

Yep, 3-year-olds are indeed wonderful.  And I will miss this stage terribly when Averi is four and more interested in her preschool friends than in asking me questions about everything on Earth.  But for the love of God,  the CIA could take a few pointers from my 3-year old when it comes to torturous interrogation tactics.  Waterboarding?  Sleep deprivation?  Ha!  Make them drive a Volvo around for a few hours with a 3-year old strapped into the back and I guarantee you their subjects will crack under the pressure.  You don’t need to ask any mother of a 3-year old, “Why?”

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kathe-kruse-unicorn-pink-350x368A is three now and has an April birthday, so she will not be starting kindergarten until the fall of 2011.  I had not intended to enroll her in a preschool program until after she turned four, hoping to maximize these precious first few years at home with me.  Well, things change and she is practically begging to spend more time with children so I am now looking at programs starting THIS fall.  The choices are endless: The rec centers offer “preschool prep” programs, there are in-home centers advertised on Craigslist, and private centers all around the city, some offering organic lunches and other perks.  But I have always had my heart set on A having a Waldorf experience.  Something about little kids knitting and running around draped in playsilks sounds to me, well, magical.  So I decided to look into the local Waldorf school.  Philosophy?  Excellent!  Location?  Perfect!  Price?  Are you effing kidding me?!  Two mornings/week (8:30-12:30) would run me $3800 for the school year and three mornings/week would be $5600.  Add to that a $500 “New Student Fee” plus the $60 application fee and there you have it.  And no, this does not include lunch.   My kid means the world to me.  There is not a question of whether or not she is “worth” this expense.  It’s a moot point.  I can’t afford it.  But I’m curious nonetheless.  What exactly is going on in there that separates a Waldorf preschool from the rest?  And by such a large margin?  Does the teacher arrive in the morning on a gilded unicorn, sprinkling magical fairy dust upon the heads of the children, assuring safety, love and future success?  If so, I will find a way to send her there.  If not… if it is just a room full of 3-year olds who are picking their noses, learning about sharing, and eating graham crackers and milk, I think A can accomplish that at the rec center.  Right?  Maybe I can teach her to knit…

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Oh, the life of a 3-year old: Sleep, pick nose, eat, pick nose, eat boogers, puzzles, kvetch, sleep, read, pick nose, eat boogers, kvetch, rinse and repeat…  The nose-picking has reached an almost alarming level as of late and no amount of reminding, chiding, harassing or PLEADING seem to have any effect whatsoever.  I’ve been told that it is peer pressure that eventually does the trick, that I should ignore it and she will outgrow it.  Maybe I’ll give this a try.  Or maybe not.  Because have I mentioned that she is also wiping the finds which she does not deem edible ON ME?

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imagesCo-sleeping. The Family Bed. I don’t really care for either of these terms. Co-sleeping would imply that everybody involved is actually SLEEPING and The Family Bed conjures an image of Brangelina and their pack of 6, snuggled into their 8-foot, custom-made bed, dressed in fair trade cotton and sipping Chai. No, it is just the two of us. During Averi’s first six months of life we slept on our sides, facing one another, her tiny head on my outstretched arm. Her crib, lovingly set-up and dressed in soft linens sat unoccupied for over two years before finding a new home. Now she is three. After books, she asks me every night if I will hold her “with both hands”, as if I might say no. Most nights she sleeps without waking, but sometimes I will hear a tiny whisper: “BOTH hands…” I used to make the mistake of the unseasoned parent and tell total strangers about our sleeping arrangement. Most would gasp in horror.  “You’ll never get her to sleep by herself!”  “I would NEVER do that!” “That’s awful!” “How can you stand it?!” Maybe I would see things differently had I slept well prior to being a mother. Maybe I would be driven to insanity if my usual 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep were thrown off by sharing a bed with Averi. The truth is that I was an insomniac before and I am an insomniac now. If she was in a room all by herself, who would hear her talking in her sleep about flying with dinosaurs? Who would stop her from crawling off of the end of the bed when she is having a nightmare? Who would hold her with both hands?

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wonveruca-thumbThis is what my daughter said to the little, umm, well… SHIT who kept trying to rain on her parade at the bookstore this afternoon.  An abbreviated transcript of the goings-on:

My Kid:  “I like Diego!”

Mean Girl:  “I ONLY like Dora.”

My Kid:  “Oh, OK.  I like Dora, too.  But I REALLY like Diego!”

Mean Girl:  “You already said that.”

My Kid:  “Do you want to look at this Little Einsteins book?”

Mean Girl:  “You like Little Einsteins?!  (insert disgusted guffaw) I liked that when I was little!”

My Kid:  “Oh.  You can still be happy…”

Since I saw that the mother of the child was not going to alert her to her rude behavior I decided to take our books and head around the corner to read them.  But not without first making sure that The Child and I had an unspoken understanding.  Our 3 seconds of eye contact conveyed what I would not have been able to say with words: “If I see one inch of that purple Croc work its way around the corner and into the Young Adult Fiction section you will be seeing a lot more of this Little Einsteins book than you ever thought possible.  Oh, and by the way, Miss Sophistication, you may wish to fish your skort out of your butt and think about some routine maintenance on your left nostril/aka Booger Central.”

Would I ever in a million years hit a child?  Of course not.  But I wanted that little girl away from my child and hearing A try to reason with her, to please her, broke my heart.  She has been with me everyday of her life.  She may begin a Preschool Prep program in the Fall a couple of mornings a week.  She is craving more time spent with kids her age and, in turn, less time spent with me.  There may be a Mean Girl there.  If there is not one there, she will run into one somewhere else.  I know I will have to let go of her someday.  But not today.  Today I will pick up the books and move around the corner.  And tonight I will help her into her jammies, read her stories with happy endings and hold onto her with both hands.  Because I still can.

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