Friday, October 17, 2014

The Case of the Sneaky Parents

Or How a Two Year Old Has Toy Radar



For Blueberry's 2nd birthday we had bought her a collection of toys called Calico Critters. There are many different family sets, ones that look like cats, dogs, mice, beavers, and pandas. She has a phobia about rodents, so we picked the pandas.
       Since she has recently watched the movie, Kung Fu Panda- the main character is a huge, funny panda named Po- when she opens up the package, she hugs it and says, "A family of Pos."
       So when you ask you to explain them to you, she says, "This one is the momma Po, and the Dada Po, and the Baby Po."

A Family of Pos



       At this lovely local toy store downtown, where they actually know us by name, not because we buy much except around birthdays or Christmas time, but we like to go in there and look at the toys- and they encourage such behavior. Who knew a toy store could be so kid friendly. They have a train table set up to play with, and a little grand piano, shopping carts that are Blueberry's size, a funny mirror, and a table with the Calico Critters. That's where Blueberry fell in love with these toys,- ohh, that's why they let you play with the toys. ;-)

The toy store also had a booklet with all the available sets and accessories a parent could grow broke buying and at night, while she was going to bed Blueberry would look through it, always stopping on the page with the red, shiny car and telling me she wants that for her family of Pos.

So for Christmas, Hero Hottie and I already knew we were going to purchase the red, shiny car perfect for a family of Pos for Blueberry.

One day we went in the toy store just to let the kids have some fun and there it was - the red, shiny car and if we bought it today, we would get the $15 roof rack set for FREE.
That's like a fifteen dollar coupon, even though we wouldn't have purchased the roof rack set for her otherwise, but we couldn't pass this opportunity up.

So Hero Hottie makes his way casually over to the cash register, while I distracted the Blueberry by the train set. While he's purchasing the car with the FREE roof rack, Blueberry takes off, running purposely next to him, and looks at him.

Eye contact has been made. But has she seen the gift being wrapped in bright green Christmas paper?

She doesn't slow down so she must not see what we're doing. I take a big sigh of relief.

We exit the store with the most neatly wrapped presents that will be under my tree. Can I take all my presents down here to be wrapped?

But our plan of Sneaky Christmas presents starts to unravel. She keeps touching the boxes and saying, "presents. presents?" Her little eyebrows are arched and she holding back her excitement.

Apparently the kid doesn't know the difference between birthday wrapping paper and Christmas wrapping paper, because all she's seeing are presents.

We hide them in the car and sneak them into the house. Hopefully, out of sight will be out of mind. But chaos breaks out when we enter and I stick them in my room, setting them near the closets, without hiding them.

A few hours later, after supper and the bigger girls are off to bed but little stinker butt, who has the most horrible time going to bed is still up, Hero Hottie and I are talking in the living room, and she's going back and forth between her bedroom and us.

Or so we thought. Nope, the Blueberry was busy doing other things.

She comes into the living room, sets down the unwrapped car on the floor where we're sitting and says, with a big flourish,

"Ta-da"

"What? You unwrapped your Christmas present?"

"Car, Momma. Car for Pos." Her little finger is poking the box, a huge grin on her face.

Hero Hottie and I are laughing so hard. We completely failed as sneaky parents. The little stinker must have known FROM THE STORE, that we had bought the car for Pos. And she had just been waiting for us to leave the presents unguarded.

And she unwrapped the bigger present and left the little present alone.

The FREE Roof Rack is in the STILL wrapped Christmas present. She knew which one to open.





Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pleasant Peasant Soup anyone?

The Mortification of Lois Lane

 

A pleasant pheasant



     So sometimes in this big goop of neurons that are busy inside my skull, information doesn't always flow in the right order.
     That's why I have the tendency to say the wrong word, because somehow the image that is in my brain is the not the sound it hears, and then when it leaves my mouth it's completely mangled and people are staring at me wondering what I just said. Thank you English language for your words that don't pronounce the way they're spelled. My brain doesn't appreciate you.

      Case in point:

        Yesterday, I was interviewing a cook for my most recent article for the paper. First of all, I was tired, but I beginning to think I'm always tired- and I was in the process of royally screwing up on completing this article.
       
        (I was interviewing and writing on the day of my deadline, yet I had known about it for weeks. If that is not last minute...I do actually have excellent reasons for not getting it done sooner but really it doesn't matter. So yesterday morning when I awoke, I laid in bed telling myself it was going to be a really sh*tty day for a variety of reasons, my last minute article one of them, and I just laid there---
Accomplishing nothing except perfecting the art of self pity. Something I have to work on because I was raised by a Mom that most of the time when faced with a problem, told me to pull up my boot straps and continue on. Actually, the advice isn't all the bad. I've learned to counter it with a little bit of sulking every once and a while, and in the meantime through all the hard stuff in my life, it's been the motto in the back of my head.)

       But back to my story: I finally grew disgusted with myself, just laying there and complaining and whining.
       “Christy,” I said to myself, but not aloud because then people think you're a little weird for talking to yourself, even though I'm sure most people do it in their heads most of the time, “You can't just call your editor and whine and tell her you're not doing the article. It needs done and failure is not an option.”

      I'm so bossy.

      I sat down, with coffee, and mulled over my angle for this story. I had nothing. Didn't know my angle. I had been trying to call someone for quotes and they were ignoring me.
        “Because I'm sure 'she's in a meeting' every time I call is code for ignore her. Especially when the receptionist says, “You're that freelance writer, right? Hold on. Oh, yeah, she's in a meeting.”
       
     Sure.

      Finally, I decided I would call the food vendors that were going to be participating in this event I was supposed to be writing about.

     Bingo.

     I call the burrito lady with the food truck. Quotes, quotes and more quotes.

    And now I was suffering from a grumbling stomach, apparently half a pomegranate was not a big enough lunch. And Buffalo Green Chili sounded good to my hunger pains.

     And then I called the catering guy who will be preparing game bird for this event.

    “Hi, so I read you're going to be making a peasant soup?”
    Silence and then a bit of laughter.
    “Umm, you mean pheasant? I'm making a pheasant soup.”
  
     Mortification.

    “I suppose you don't want to make soup out of peasants, huh?” I asked, when I could speak again.
    “No, we'll be making it out of pheasant, you know it's a bird.”


    After that I wouldn't even pronounce the word 'pheasant'- referring to it as the bird.

   “You mean the pheasant?” He would fill in the blank. I think he was mocking me.

    But I know my brain, if I mispronounce a word once, it gets stuck on that pronunciation and I will mispronounce again.

     So success. I wrote the article and submitted it.

     And then I read it this morning and realized that instead of writing about the pheasant, I wrote about the pleasant bird.
     My catering guy was cooking pleasant soup.
     Yikes!
     I was really starting to hate this bird.

    I emailed my editor and explained that although I'm sure the catering guy's soup will be pleasant, if she could correct my pleasant soup for pheasant soup I would really appreciate that.

     She emailed me back a smiley face.

     At least she didn't wish me a pheasant day.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Homeschooling by the Seat of my Pants

Farmer's Markets, Social Skills, and Old-fashioned Math



Always chasing sisters.


      It's probably not a good idea that Blueberry has put all my drying hot peppers in her sippy cup. Somehow I don't think spicy water is appropriate for babies, even Blueberry who likes hot sauce and curry. I had the peppers up high, but I turn around and she has climbed on top of the stool all by herself and is very busy exploring her new world called the 'counter top'. Luckily, she hadn't drank the water.
      Blueberry has increased the size of her world map lately, with gaining the ability to escape her crib, climb onto sisters' beds, and being able to reach up and pull things from the counters.

      It is a busy time- this time of the Tremendous and Terrific Two's. The world of a two year old is a world of newness, and excitement. Things are like magic. Water comes from the sink. The lights turn off and on. Sisters have the best things. And Mommies always have the best hugs.

     Oh, and Frozen songs are the only approved songs to play while driving.

     One day, when the kids are all grown and highly successful, I will be asked to write a book on my method of homeschooling and I will be unable to offer any constructive advice because I will have to say:
   
      I just winged it.

     Naw, that's not completely true. There is actually a plan to the ways I'm doing things but it's not rigid.
     It's structured. And I have clearly defined goals written down for us to reach.
     But I don't have a chart with gold stars and I don't have ribbons for participating.
     I don't have massive amounts of tests and quizzes.

Instead, I have experiences to give them. Questions to make them think. Books, and National Geographics to read.

      And the other day I had the Farmer's Market. It was too nice of a day to learn inside, so we took the classroom outside, because that is one of the greatest thing about homeschooling- the flexibility.

      Our Farmer's Market consist of a row of white tents, lined against the parking lot of one of our city parks. There are fruits- melons, apples, and peaches. There are veggies of many kinds- heirlooms and oddities, white cucumbers to catch people's attentions, and black cherry tomatoes that appear at first to be rotting, but are sweet and low acidity. And skinny eggplants that don't look like the fat and sassy eggplants in the store.



        The girls tried slices of peaches, so fuzzy and sweet, the juice dipping down their chins. And Blueberry smelled the herbs.
       We decided that for our lesson that day, Bean was going to make a salsa and Abu was going to try her hand at pickles.
      We went to the pepper guy, who I had interviewed for a newspaper article, which means I should have known better because he had given me samples to try and his idea of hot is vastly different than my idea of hot.
      But we were discussing sweet peppers and so when he offered Abu a bite of pepper, I didn't stop her from trying it.
     Her eyes start to water and her cheeks flushed. I thought she was going to start crying.
      It wasn't a sweet pepper.
     He offered her a fuzzy yellow cherry tomato, which she ate out of desperation because she doesn't like tomatoes but her mouth was on fire.
    Luckily it helped.
I felt bad. I had not taken them to the Farmer's Market to burn their tongues.

     While I worried about Abu, Bean searched the containers of peppers, picking ones by how hot they smelled.
     Blueberry wanted to help search and she couldn't understand why I wouldn't let her coat her little fingers in volatile pepper juice.
    We found pickling cucumbers, and squashes.
     And left, forgetting that we needed tomatoes for the salsa and dill for the pickles.
    After running an errand, we swung back around to the market and I made Bean get out and purchase the tomatoes and dill on her own. I watched from the car as she had to convey what she needed. A conversation happened between her and the young lady running the booth.

Social skills for the day. Checked.

This homeschooling stuff was getting easy.

We went home and spent the morning making salsa and pickles. 



   And then we worked on math, without – wait for it because Bean still couldn't believe I would make her do long division without it – a calculator.

I'm such a mean mom, expecting my child to perform math without an electronic device.

But I just tell them it's good for building pathways in the brain.

They just roll their eyes and ask if we can go to the Farmer's Market again.