Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat Conversation

So, my Small One is two years old, which means this is the first Halloween she understands in any way, shape, or form, despite this being her third Halloween, technically. Last year, she was Tinkerbell, to her father's Peter Pan:
Her sister, my Middle Child, was Poison Ivy- a fairly menacing villain-ess for a rather small and frightened looking canine Batman:We went to a Halloween party in the park, with the homeschool group, and then the big kids were released to do their own thing. This year, though, has been more of a production. We did the previously mentioned fall festival and pumpkin patch, went to the same Halloween party as last year, (only this year, Small One won "runner up" in the costume contest!), and tonight, Small's sister has agreed to take her trick or treating.

That being the case, I decided I should clue her into the finer points of trick or treating, which led me to the following conversation:

Me: Tonight you're going trick or treating!

Small: Yeah!

Me:'ll go up to people's doors, knock on the door, and when they open it, you'll say "trick or treat!". Ok?

Small: Yeah!

Me: So, you'll knock on the door...(Small One nods her head enthusiastically)... and they'll open the door, and what will you say?

Small: Open the door!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: No. You'll say "trick or treat!"

Small: Trick or treat!!!!!!!

Me: Yeah! And then people will give you candy!

Small: I like candy.

She has this new thing. When she likes something, she tells people that she likes it, in a very serious, somewhat quiet voice, while leaning forward. It's very reminiscent of Senate hearings, actually. Ma'am, could you speak up, please?

(taps mike) "I like candy."

We practiced a few more times. Sometimes she tells me that when people open the door she'll say "Trick or treat!", but sometimes she says she's going to tell them her name, or that she's a girl. So, we'll see how it goes tonight, I guess.

Keep your fingers crossed! And by the way, Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Fish, Some Pumpkins, A Goat and a Veteran

My mission this weekend: family fun time! Whee! It's been a challenging month, to say the least, but the holiday season is upon us, and I was determined to spend some quality time ushering it in with my children.

Friday night was the fall festival at our church. Having fallen in love with a particular costume last year, I've had an ebay search going for it ever since, and finally scored it, JUST in the nick of time, as it arrived an hour before we had to leave. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

My Fishy! Ta dah!Off we went, my fishy, my kitty-cat, the Man and I. Lots of fun...

And the only crazy was the good kind of crazy:

Moving on to today... I really wanted to visit a pumpkin patch. Not one of those "bunch of pumpkins on the lawn of a church" cheaty pumpkin patches, but a real honest to goodness place where pumpkins GREW, where I could show my Small One some pumpkins on the vine, let her breathe fresh country air, and maybe pet a goat. We traveled to Yule Forest, south of town, and found all that and more.

All three kids had a great time...

Small One got to see animals she'd never seen in real life,

Middle Child got to take a zillion photographs,

(many of herself, which was even more important than usual to her today because she got a new "do" this weekend), we got to go on a completely surreal hayride, with no hay, but many many wooden cutouts painted as Disney characters, wild animals, and even the Sidney Opera House. How bizarre is that?

There were even reptiles.

The best part was when this goat:

decided he loved my Oldest.

He tried to climb the fence!

I was afraid he might want to come home with us. Apparently, Oldest is a really good ear scratcher!

Anyway, a good time was had by all, and it was not until after we left that I realized, we did NOT show Small One a pumpkin on the vine. Oopsie.

On the way home, we had a different kind of adventure, because what day in the country would be complete without some local color? We stopped for boiled peanuts, which seemed a simple enough errand. The man selling the peanuts was probably in his 70s or 80s, and only had one tooth. I'm really not even making that up, he had ONE tooth. It was on the bottom, on the right, and it didn't seem to be in such good shape.

How do I recall so clearly his one tooth? Well, that would be because he stood right at my window and talked to us. For twenty minutes. He told us about his time in Korea, his service in World War Two. He was a chaplain, and also a pilot? He showed us his scar from the bullet he took in his leg. He talked about September 11th. He showed us commemorative medals. Then he moved on and talked about his faith. He told us that his daughter had been healed of cancer, that his other daughter had a melanoma and they were praying for it to be healed... oddly enough, after he told us a story, he'd say "Is that ok with you?"

Example: "I took this bullet in my leg, and they almost killed me 2 other times, but I survived. Is that ok with you?" or "My daughter's completely cancer-free. Is that ok with you?"

It was strange. It was long. His tooth was disconcerting. But the Man and I both felt that it was understood- you just don't interrupt a veteran of two wars while he's telling you his life story, even if your toddler is in the back seat yelling "Come on! Go bye bye car!" But as we finally collected our peanuts and drove away, the Man voiced what I think we'd both been wondering...

"If you only have one tooth, how much good could that one tooth possibly be doing you?"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Moments that make it all OK

Well, I wish I could say that my funk has lifted, the clouds have parted, angels are smiling down on me as they sing, and my creative juices are once again flowing, but alas, such is not the case. I'm hopeful, which is a step up from where I have been, but I haven't quite gotten my groove back.

(I'm sorry sir, you've thrown off the emperor's groove.)

Anyhoo, I did want to share a few moments of my life that have made me smile of late... all related to my Small One.

First of all, her Daddy has been getting her to go to bed, of late, by playing a baby bird game. "Ooooh, my little baby bird," he croons, as he spirits her off the the crib, "it's time to lie in your soft little next and go night-night." She eats this up. She chirps softly and flaps her tiny baby bird wings, and coos at him. (Until he walks away from the crib, and then she's not as charmingly sweet, but I digress.)

So yesterday, she decided to play Baby Bird all afternoon. This was very cute, as she flapped and flew and chirped all over the house, but the down side was, I was only allowed to REFER to her as "Baby Bird". I would say "Are you hungry?" and she would say "NO, Mommy, Baby BIRD hungry!" and I would have to say "Oh, little Baby Bird, are you hungry?" and then she'd nod and chirp and say "Baby Bird HUNGRY!" and then eat. A similar conversation ensued when I asked about going potty, being finished, playing puzzles... everything. Baby birds, not surprisingly, like to do many of the same things two year old humans enjoy.

Last night I took her with me when I went to pick MC up from a school event. Small One never even got out of the car, but halfway home she said "Thank you, Mommy!" and when I asked her why she was thanking me she said "Go bye bye, ride car." Awww, she's thanking me for dragging her along while I cater to her older siblings- the very thing about which I carry crushing mommy guilt. Isn't that something? I was very touched.

Today was more hectic, and less touching. I had a REALLY hard time getting her out of the house today, I kept trying to get her to come with me, I had my hands very full of things I had to take along, and she just kept staring at me with a blank look. After I'd deposited all the things I was carrying into the car, and come back with the intent of picking her up and toting her if necessary, I gave logic one more try. "Your playgroup," I said, "has already started. If you do not come right now, you will NOT get to see ANY of your friends." She smiled at me, a sort of "why didn't you say so" smile, and said "O-tay".

By the time we got home, after we'd been to two completely opposing sides of this vast town, she was overtired. She was shrieking at the slightest provocation, and arguing with the dog about whether or not she was allowed to ride him.

THIS dog:

His vote was "NO." and I sided with him on that.

I finally got her wrestled ALMOST to sleep, and as she was dozing off, her eyes POPPED open, and she sang a full verse of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", then cheered for herself, and zonked immediately out. I mean, from clapping to snoring in less than 5 seconds!

She is the most fun I could legally have, I think.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Why are there no songs about Nebraska?

Or maybe I just don't know any...yet.

So, I haven't blogged in a long time, mainly because difficulties with my Middle Child have rendered me virtually humorless and without creative spark. But in the middle of all of this chaos, my sister in law sent me an article concerning a rather poorly worded law in Nebraska that has brought some unexpected problems.

In case you don't feel like following the link, I'll try to sum up. Many states have "safe haven" laws, where people can drop babies off at hospitals and not face repercussions. These laws are, of course, designed to keep people from dropping infants in dumpsters or ravines or what have you... but Nebraska's law is imprecise, and does not indicate an upper age of children that can be dropped. Consequently, people have taken to dumping their bigger children, with one man dropping off NINE children, because he didn't know how to handle them after his wife died. Another man crossed state lines to dump his 14 year old daughter.

Now before you go rushing to judgment on these parents, I urge you, spend a week with a 14 year old girl and THEN tell me you're not up for a Nebraska road trip. Or if you don't have a handy 14 year old girl, consider this anecdote, regarding a friend of a friend:

This lady I know has an absolutely beautiful, previously quite sweet 14 year old daughter. Lately, though, the girl has been belligerent and hostile, defiant and angry. She's currently grounded for bad behavior and bad grades, but the other night when she couldn't reach her mother on the phone as quickly as she liked to ask about an exception to the restriction, she just took it upon herself to decide she was off the hook and could sleep over at a friend's house. When her mother interfered with her plans, she became hysterical, crying and screaming and threatening her mother physically, saying she'd stab her in her sleep. Yikes!

The mother is divorced, but her ex lives quite nearby for the sake of helping with the kids, (although this is not really his strong suit, and she has to be pretty desperate to ask for his help), became really upset and frightened, and called her ex to come help. When the dad arrived, the girl became even MORE irrational, and took off running down a busy road, late at night, weaving in and out of traffic, with her father in hot pursuit. When he finally caught up to her, she was curled in a ball in a a ditch, sobbing. Drama much?

The mother picked her daughter up from school today, and took her out for coffee, to discuss what happened. (I'm pretty sure she was following the theory that teens are much less likely to cause a gigantic scene in public.) When she got to the part about her daughter threatening to kill her while she slept, the girl stopped her. "I never said that!" she said. Her mother assured her that yes, she did indeed say that, and the girl was all innocence, claiming no memory of it, but then started laughing, as though it was the funniest thing she'd heard all day, that her mother had gotten it SO WRONG.

"No," she patiently explained, "I said I would STAB you in your sleep."

Ahhh! Yes, of course, now it's all ok.

This story made me smile, I'm embarrassed to admit, but I promise the smile was one of empathy and understanding, with only a small dash of "Whew! Someone else's kid was worse than my kid today! Hooray!" thrown in for good measure.

Maybe I should give that mom a call, offer her a listening ear. Maybe she'd like to split the cost of a drive to Nebraska.

I had to come back and edit to add... I DID find a song called Nebraska!