- My normally sweet little girl was about as lovely on the inside as she appears on the outside in this photo.
- You know how there's always that one mom who seems to juggle a career and parenthood with such ease? No one who saw me arrive late at AJ's soccer game, just in time to deal with my filthy and overly tired daughter's attitude, will ever suggest I'm that mom.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
In fact, AJ never even made it outdoors. As part of the festivities, sponsored by the Children's Museum, there was free open skating time at the neighboring Heritage Hockey Arena. It was AJ's first time on skates in five months.
It was interesting to watch the various people out on the ice, and definitely a "You know you're from Duluth, if..." kind of moment. Tank tops and shorts - on ice. And we certainly weren't the only ones in that sort of attire.
A little later, AJ and Daddy joined us, which meant I got a much needed break. I always love it when the simple things prove to be the most fun. Here the kids had access to a bunch of different activities involving bubbles. And they couldn't have cared less. But give them a wide open space in which they can run around and be as loud as they want to be, and their imaginations go into overdrive. We had to drag them away.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
At the mall, one thing we needed was new shoes for Sydney. She loves her imitation Crocs, but they're not the most practical footwear we could choose come winter. And so we had her feet measured (9-9.5 depending on how much growing room I want to give her) and began test running (literally) several pairs of shoes.
The Dora tennis shoes were an immediate hit, until I asked her if she thought we should buy them. "Umm, no thank you," was her reply.
That was her same answer for several other pairs of shoes. For Sydney, none were anywhere near as exciting as the nylon socks she got to wear while trying them on.
She was so excited when I told her she could keep them. When it came time to leave, ultimately after buying a pair of sparkly pink Disney Princess dress shoes, Sydney continued wearing the nylons under her Crocs.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
So dirty was my little darling that I insisted she take a bath before dinner. Perhaps an even stronger indicator: I was so shocked that it didn't even occur to me to take her picture until it was too late to capture the evidence on her.
But perhaps this will give you an idea of how much dirt came off of her. Note the color of the water in the tub:
As she happily played in the water, Sydney explained how she'd come to be so messy.
"I was just playing in the dirt with Izzy," she told me. "Izzy got dirty too."
Well, doesn't that just make it all okay, then? It kind of reminds me of the "but you should see the other guy" rationalization.
As dirty as the water had become, I actually insisted on rinsing her with water fresh from the tap.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I am not a teacher. Sure, my children have learned plenty of things from me, but those are the kind of things they just sort of pick up on (whether I want them to or not.)
When it comes to sitting down with them and providing specific instructions... the results are not successful. Which is why AJ is still wearing shoes with velcro.
I've had him try to tie his shoes. I've had him try to tie my shoes. I say one lace goes up and over and through. He twists them into a corkscrew. I say make a bunny ear. He does it, right at the end of the lace. I show him and show him and show him how to make the bunny ear right next to where we just tied, so that there's a long tail left. He makes another bunny ear, right at the end of the lace. And then when it doesn't work, he wrinkles up his face in a look or irritated frustration, as if I'm tricking him and leading him on a wild goose chase.
To him, it appears that tying shoes is a bit of a puzzle. If you see any kind of loop, stick the end of a lace through it.
But we'll keep working on this and some day will be successful. On that day, I will inform Jeff that since I taught AJ to tie his shoes, he gets to be the one to teach AJ to drive.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
File this photo as one that AJ will someday wish didn't exist. But he sure was excited Sunday night to parade around the neighborhood in last Halloween's Wolverine costume.
And a parade it was... at least in AJ's mind. At dinner, he first asked Jeff if he'd "do a parade" with him. Jeff tried instead to convince AJ to watch the Vikings gamewith him.
Clearly AJ does not share his father's enthusiasm for football.
He looked at Jeff and suggested instead, "How about if you just tell me if the Vikings win?"
So by default, it was me who ended up looping through the neighborhood with a child wearing a neon yellow costume while riding a bright red bike. Had I let him, AJ would have thrown candy. I squashed that idea pointing out there probably wouldn't be too many people lining the parade route to pick up the candy.
AJ still has a ways to go before he'll be ready to give up the training wheels. But he's gotten much faster and braver pedaling down the street. Plus he's able to pedal and whistle at the same time. That's something even I couldn't do.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I've heard plenty of good things about it... even signed up as a fan on Facebook to bring a Trader Joe's to Duluth. And yet I've never set foot inside the store. Until today.
While visiting the Cities for my Mom's birthday, we had a little extra time in between church and lunch, and so "the girls" (me and the two lovely ladies shown below) decided to make a quick trip to check out the store in Maple Grove.
For Sydney, all she had to do was spot the mini shopping carts and she is now a fan for life. This was even more cool than the "grocery store" at the children's museum in New York. She got to pick out real food, and didn't have to put it back on the shelf when she was done playing with it. And I let her buy applesauce.
Cub is never going to be able to top this.
Up and down the aisles she ran, at times narrowly avoiding other customers, most of whom were pretty forgiving when they spotted her gleeful smile.
"One more row!" was her excited shout each time she rounded the corner of an aisle. When it came time to check out, once we'd piled up our impulse buys at the register, she took off again, "I have to park the cart!"
By dinner time, her enthusiasm faded a bit at the sight of the whole wheat gnocchi on her plate. Apparently she doesn't remember the last time we served this, and never the daring one, she initially refused to eat it. Once I cut one in half so she could sample a smaller bite, and explained she really didn't have a choice if she ever wanted to get down from the table, she finally opened her mouth.
And guess what. She liked it.
They both will play with dolls. Just in very different ways. Sydney, for instance, likes to set her "people" at a table where they enjoy a delightful conversation.
That is, when Sydney's not busy climbing on their house. She is 3, after all. But I digress...
The way she plays, her Barbies take care of each other, and she takes care of them.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Driving into Duluth yesterday, the kids clearly grew bored in the back seat. Their solution? A make-shift game of Go Fish. Using baseball cards. At first, it seemed like an impossible game idea. AJ has very few baseball cards, so the chance of finding a match is miniscule at best.
And then I heard how they were playing, which sent my political correctness meter spinning out of control.
AJ: Do you have a black guy?
WHAT?!? I couldn't possibly have just heard what I thought I'd heard. At the moment, I was driving over Spirit Mountain, through a construction zone, in foggy conditions. There was no way I could take my eyes off the road. The game continued.
AJ: Do you have a white guy?
Sydney: Yup. Here.
We reached our exit, and as I slowed down to turn I asked AJ to show me his "black guy" card. He held up the card so I could see it in the rear view mirror.
It was a Caucasian baseball player. Wearing a black uniform.
Too bad we couldn't all be so innocent.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I give the organizers credit. They lost a lot of money on this venture and spent several weeks dressed in elaborate pirate costumes (often in 80-degree temperatures.) And it was all for naught.
So what did they do on their final day? What any broke pirate would do, I suppose. They loaded a make-shift cannon with candy and blasted it into the air.
What an unexpected surprise! Suddenly, my children who were too cool or picky to grab the candy tossed to them in a parade were running around in search of soot-covered candy wrappers that had just dropped back to earth.
So maybe I will cry on the first day of school.
I didn't think I would. I've always thought it a bit strange when my mom friends talked about the tears they shed as they walked their child to the bus or classroom. Think of what you're saving in daycare, for goodness sake. This is a great, great day!
Now I'm not so sure.
I took AJ "to-school" shopping on Sunday. (Since it's his first year, I'm dropping the "back" from back-to-school.)
He was quite excited to get two pairs of shoes. One for everyday and the other for gym. I was very happy to see that his top priority was how fast they are. (I remember doing that with my sister at the Brookdale JCPenney.) He took off across the aisle for a short test run.
Something else to note about these shoes: they have laces. No velcro. Guess what we'll be working on the next few weeks.
After that it was off to the chaos of the school supply aisles. It amazes me how non-logically this stuff is merchandized. I'm sure there's been some study that says people will buy more stuff if they have to look harder to find a box of #2 pencils. It was ridiculous.
It was as we gathered the crayons and markers and notebooks and 1.5" 3-ring binders (which also are a challenge to find) that it hit me that I have to let go a lit bit more of my baby. This isn't daycare where I call the shots on the schedule. This isn't about me and Jeff anymore and trying to find a place for AJ while we're at work.
This is now about AJ. He is embarking on a journey where I'm not as much in control. He will learn things from teachers that I probably don't know. He will learn things from kids that I don't want him to know. He will get bigger and more independent.
And I have to learn to let go.
I'm getting teary-eyed just writing this. Yeah - I'm probably going to cry on Sept. 9.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
- I stepped out on the front porch for a moment to check the temperature. When I came back inside, Sydney scolded me for leaving the front door open, "Mom, you let the bug bites in."
- While she sat at the table eating a bowl of cereal, Jeff sat down next to her with a bowl of leftover pork fried rice. Sydney couldn't resist pointing out the absurdity of this: "Daddy's eating supper for breakfast."
- Ever the drama queen, after Daddy sent her to her room to clean it, Sydney came whining to me, "I'm having a hard time."
Saturday, August 14, 2010
AJ has been looking forward to this day for weeks. He got to be IN a parade. On a float! Throwing candy to all the kids. (Never mind that they handed out push-up popsicles, not candy; and they ran out before they ever reached us.) It was a dream come true.
Friday, August 13, 2010
A couple days ago, I couldn't decide between two pairs of shoes. Sydney recommended the blue ones. I love having access to another female's perspective. (I suspect Jeff is equally glad to be off the hook on answering these kinds of questions.)
Meanwhile, Sydney has also become my workout partner. I recently started using an exercise ball and its accompanying DVD. Sydney is fascinated by "the girl movie" and so loves heading down to the basement with me in the evening. It didn't take her long to find some compable toys so that she could join in.
That's AJ's bouncy ball she's hoisting over her head. Other times she used her Chuck E. Cheese gym ball to lift and stretch. Most of the time, however, she simply liked counting along with the announcer as I sweated through the reps.
Contrast that with AJ's style of encouragement. He joined me in the basement for a different workout this past week. As I grunted and groaned through some reverse push-ups, AJ questioned, "Are you making muscles mom?"
"I'm trying," was my pained reply.
A few moments passed. Then suddenly AJ exclaimed, "I think I see one!"
Thursday, August 12, 2010
six-year molars have already come in, bringing his total tooth count
AJ wasn't too wild about the polishing process- it sounded too much
like a drill. Ever since watching the dentist scene in Finding Nemo,
he's terrified of drills. He wasn't too thrilled with the fluoride
process either, until I reminded him it was like wearing his hockey
On the plus side, he loved the reclining chair and the Spiderman
sunglasses, and the thing that sucked liquid out of his mouth was just
the coolest thing to play with.
Glad he enjoyed it, because we get to do it all again in six months.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
(Jonathon and Jessica, feel free to analyze his form here and offer any pointers. He's going to want to play with you the next time we visit.)
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
When that happens, I hope I'll remember to look back at this post and remind them of this moment of harmony - when they were the best of friends - when the spirit of cooperation inspired a five-and-a-half-year-old wanna-be pirate to push his sister on the swing, needing to hear only her giggles as his encouragement to continue pushing higher and higher.
Monday, August 9, 2010
So last week, I finally cut the balloons loose. Not completely loose. I tied them to a refrigerator magnet to keep them floating up to the very top of our vaulted ceilings. Alas, the magnet was no match for a 5-year-old football player who simply could not walk past the balloons without attempting to tackle them.
Actually, the magnet did just fine. It was the other end, where the ribbon wrapped around the balloon, that couldn't hang on. Up, up, up went the balloon.
Sydney's first solution was to drag a dining room chair over to the scene of the crime. Surely that would give her enough of a boost to reach the balloon.
Or maybe not.
Not to be discouraged, Sydney next announced she would get Daddy to help.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Here's another look at it as it passed by a different panel of very-thick glass, a panel that hadn't been scratched and gnawed at quite as much:
Perhaps she didn't trust my photography skills, because she seemed to want a back up source. As I turned around after snapping the picture, I discovered she'd swiped my phone from my purse and was snapping a shot of her own. (Mine turned out better.)
Friday, August 6, 2010
Sydney woke up this morning wanting to be a princess. I helped her into a dress, and she then ran to her brother and asked, "AJ, do you want to play dress up, too?"
"Sydney, boys don't play dress up," was AJ's rather grumpy response.
Really? This from the child with superhero, knight and pirate outfits cluttering his bedroom floor?
"Boys just wear costumes," he further explained.
AJ ran into his room to get his knight costume. Just as Sydney muttered, "He's playing dress up."