Monday, November 28, 2011

Poker = Old Maid

Wolfie and Tulip have discovered Old Maid, the card game.  Have you played Old Maid recently?  It's like poker for children.  I think.  I don't know much about poker except that you should not let your opponents know what cards you hold - thus the "poker face".  In Old Maid, you should not let your opponents know that you have the Old Maid card. 

Have you ever watched a four or six year-old's face while they try to hide something you should not know.

It's hysterical!  A total giggle fit.  Eyes bugging out.  Hands slapping over mouths.  And then there are the diversion tactics like saying, "I don't think you are suppose to know something..."  The stifling giggles are just so contagious.

This afternoon I was playing Old Maid with Tulip and Wolfie and Wolfie originally had the Old Maid card.  Tulip picked it from his hand.  The funny thing is that you are not supposed to want to have the Old Maid card but for some reason this card is so funny that both of my kids want to have it.  So now that Tulip has it, Wolfie wants to pick it back.  He reaches right for where he saw her tuck it in her hand (which was on the end) and she pulled her fan of cards away from him and said, "No, no!  I have to mix up my cards."

You understand she wants to hide the Old Maid card in her hand.  What does she do?  She turns around.  Logical for a four year old to turn around to hide something in her hand from her brother, right?  But this is cards so by turning around she is in essence showing Wolfie her entire hand.

His eyes are bugging out, he's wriggling around, trying so hard not to giggle at the fact that he can see, right over her shoulder,  exactly where that Old Maid card is.

He reaches forward, springs up off the floor and is doing a flying lunge towards Tulip's hand of cards.  She heads him off with a right foot extension.  A sort of karate kick in the air. 

It's full contact Old Maid.  As with any game, it turns into whatever it takes to fall onto the floor and roll around.  Wrestling.  Giggling like crazy.

That Old Maid got the kids so riled up we had to play Crazy 8's just to settle down.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Did you know...

"Mama, did you know that pee is a liquid."  It's a statement.

Thank you. 

Seriously, I would probably embarrass myself in public if it were not for my children keeping me up to speed on the ways of the world.

These little samples of my life are for what I am thankful.

Friday, November 25, 2011

power shopping menality of children

We went to Costco today, Black Friday, at about 5:30.  This is unprecedented in our lives.  We've not been around (and by "not around" I mean on the road to Michigan) on this day for over a decade.  We certainly have never gone to a store, on Black Friday, with our children.

I have to admit, I was sort of looking forward to some holiday madness.  I mean, I'm not into the trashy gift-fighting sensationalism the media seems to promise the larger chain stores will deliver.  But I do admit that some hustle and bustle, lights and decorations, and even blaring holiday music does put me in a festive mood.  There's simply no denying it is holiday shopping season.

We went to Costco because that's where my husband grocery shops on Friday.  Seriously.  My kids eat a ton of fruit and Costco is the place to go for our weekly berries, banana, pears and pomegranate stock up.  But today was different because we all went together and hubby and I planned to scope out Costco for some gift ideas.  My sister-in-law pretty much asked me what the kids would like for Christmas and could she get it from Costco.  Easy enough.

Anyway, Wolfie did see some amazing thing he wanted.  It was $75.  He asked if we could buy it tonight.  I told him that we couldn't buy it because it cost $75 but maybe he would get some gift money for Christmas and he could start thinking about special things he might want to buy with that money.

That got him thinking about money.  Cash, I suppose.  Oh, and he's six years old so this is what he said next:
 "Mama, I know.  We could buy this toy with your card.  You know that card you use sometimes when you buy something.  This way we could use that card and we wouldn't have to use any money!"

That was pretty brilliant, he thought.

The happy ending to this story is that the children did, in fact, get to pick out something special and we bought it for them tonight. 


Robes.  Yes, Wolfie and Tulip both got robes and they were giddy with excitement.  They have wanted robes for a long, long time.  They hugged their robes in the car on the way home (because we didn't let them wear them) and talked the whole ride home about how he was going to wear his robe tomorrow and how long can he wear it and where he should put that special hook in his room on which to hang his robe and...

I do love shopping with my children.  Oh, and Luna got pajamas because they didn't have robes in her size.  The rub is she's wearing hers right now and the big kids have to wait until morning.  Sleep tight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Killer opossums and baby-eating fish

So in the past week, my children have been exposed to killer opossums and baby-eating fish.

Yes, you read that correctly.

My fabulous sister-in-law and her husband surprised us last weekend with a spontaneous take-the-kids-out adventure.  My brother-in-law's uncle has a farm, recently acquired some animals...ponies! see where this is going. 

It was so great.  The kids went to a farm, met a farmer and touched farm animals.  They also learned about the circle of life on a farm.  Apparently there is a opossum in the barn and it killed some kittens and the only reason the farmer hasn't shot it is because he hasn't loaded his gun yet.  This, according to my children.

Tulip knows that I love opossums (more of a private joke between my husband and me but it has turned into a current family lore).  Tulip warned me, "Mama, you can't smooch that opossum because it will kill you."  She whispered that last part.

Tonight at dinner Wolfie asked me how you kill a fish before you can eat it, and I told him that a fish can only live in the water so once you catch it and take it out of the water it will die.  He corrected me.  Apparently this week in the library at school, he and his reading partner found a book with a story about a fish that can crawl out of the water and, in one example, this land-bound fish ate a baby.

Ate a baby.

I scoffed at this story and Wolfie emphasized, "Mama, this book was non-fiction!"  Well, then, that settles that.

You learn something new every day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's here but not

For the past two weeks I've been having these fleeting moments where something delightful happens in my little life involving my delightful children and I think "that's a blog story" but I haven't been blogging real heavy.

I don't know.  I am really enjoying blogging...
But sometimes I the old mama-me, the one who did not blog and did not ever take good pictures, reappears and hangs out for a while just enjoying.

Just enjoying.  Enjoying letting it happen and letting it in. 

Like when my husband and I would realize that we just watched a milestone, such as a preschool performance, and didn't snap a single picture...we'd tell ourselves "well, we were in the moment, enjoying the moment with our eyes, ears, and hearts; not from behind a lens".

And as I sit here at my keyboard, now that my children are asleep and as is the custom I've developed for writing, I can make myself remember some of those blog worthy moments but I'd rather just sit here and remember them.

So here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to look at those photobooth pictures we took last Thursday night.  Then I'm going to go look at my sleeping children.  Probably kiss them.  Smell their hair.

I'll write something else another time.  I'm missing a moment now.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Luna says

Luna says, "Tulip, let's play hide and seek!"
Luna says, "'s dinner time!"
Luna says, "Tulip, let's play Duck, Duck, Goose!"

Luna says, "Tulip, let's play Wrap Presents!" (this is a game where they find a small toy, wrap it in a blanket or wash cloth, and present it as a gift)

Luna says, "Tulip, let's play Ring around the rosey, pockets full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down!"
Only, it sounds like this:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Little Lexicons

I spent just a little time in Tulip's preschool this week.  It's C week, and during a story one little girl kept shouting out to her teacher, "I know what starts with C - seaweed!"  I mean, seriously, read that out loud.  That was so funny.  She must have hollered it out four times; she was so excited at her discovery.  I totally giggled.  I would be a bad preschool teacher.  I would bust a gut everyday at stuff like that.

Wolfie spelled all of his spelling pre-test words correctly so he gets a "challenge" list this week.  He was so proud of himself.  But get this, his challenge list is totally challenging.  Here are his words (mind you, he is in first grade):
  • humor
  • humorous
  • amuse
  • amusement
  • funny
  • hilarious
Can you believe it?!  Tough, right?  But, these are terrific words for him because we use many of them regularly.

As we drove to Grandma's house, we were trying out his new challenge words.  I like teaching my children about words, and I pointed out that you spell the "ous" sound at the end of a word with three special letters: o-u-s

I asked him which two words ended in -ous.  He answered with "humorous" and "hilarious" of course.  Then I started to ask him if he could think of any other words that end in -ous.  I was thinking too.  Okay, I admit that was a bit much for him to wrap his head around.  I mean, what did I expect him to say?  Porous?  Glamorous?

But Tulip chimed in, for sure.  "Bus!' she hollers.  Then after a few moments, "Toys R Us!"

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's what I get for putting the phone behind my back

Luna is two and a half.  That might be all I have to say.

But there is more, tonight.

It was time to get ready for bed, which happens in the bedroom wing of our house, yet Luna was in the living room wing of the house playing the piano.  Well, I'm not going to deny her creative outlet but it was not just playing on the piano, ladies and gentlemen, she had the phone.

I've had circumstances follow my toddlers playing with our phone

I told her to give me the phone and she said...wait for it..."No."  I took the phone from her and she said, "I need that!"  Actually she kind of screamed it several times.  I decided that the best thing to do was to hide the offending item so I put it behind my back and she hollered, "No, Mama!  Don't put that phone in your butt!  Put it in there!"  as she pointed to the charger cradle.

I don't put things in my butt.  Actually, I don't usually put things behind my back either.  I usually talk and reason and all that other gentle and appropriate mother stuff.  So I guess I tried something new tonight and that's what I get.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

media-free weekends

We have a pretty consistent rule in our house, though "rule" sounds harsh.  It's more of a lifestyle.

The children do not watch TV on the weekends.

A few years ago I announced that we were not going to watch TV on Saturday or Sunday.  Saturday and Sunday were No Show days.  Actually, my children watch very little TV.  They pretty much only watch shows on PBS or they watch DVD's.  Now we have Netflix on the Wii so they watch episodes of kid's programs that we've selected.   So calling the weekend No Show days made more sense.

Here's what we did today, without any TV, computers, or screen media of any kind:

Ate breakfast.
The kids ran off to their rooms and played with each other and several of their gazillion toys that are not the TV.
Then we painted pictures. 
I took out some garbage and noticed that even though it was blustery, it was quite warm.
We played outside.  All morning. 
We cleaned up the Halloween decorations.  We did some other yard projects.  They ran around the front yard.  They ran around the backyard.
They tried to fly a kite.  3-2-1 blastoff is almost as fun as actually getting a kite up in the air.
They played with a ball.  They went down our slide.  They played on the teeter-totter.  They played make-believe.

Then it was time for lunch.  The kids prepared their own pb&j sandwiches.  We never watch TV while fixing or eating meals anyway, so there's that.
After lunch, the kids ran off and played with each other and their toys.  Again.

Then this great thing happened after lunch.
The girls were playing with some stamps I had before I even had kids.  I dragged the box into the house -it had been on a shelf in the garage waiting for the perfect moment to make a debut in the kids' life.  I have flowers, and leaves, and other pretty curlicue types of stamps and all sorts of pretty bright flower colors.

This is while Gabe and Wolfie are burying a treasure box.  Yes!  Gabe decided that he wanted to bury some ale in the ground to age it for two years.  Yes!  He tells Wolfie, "Hey, do you want to bury a treasure that we'll dig up 2 years from now?  We'll have to measure some coordinates to remember where it is."  So Wolfie gets to dig a hole in the ground, one of his favorite past times.

See below:
The rest of the afternoon included games, cards, pretend, some banging on the piano, books, some homework, smooching, wrestling, chasing, pretending to be kittens, playing with more toys, etc. etc. etc.

Dinner, bath, books, bed.

The kids don't know what they're missing by having a media-free day (but honestly, I really don't think they are missing anything).

Friday, November 11, 2011

I've Done This

I've awoken to the sound of a toddler crunching strawberries in my bed at 5:00 in the morning.

She can now open the refrigerator by herself.  At least we don't keep the left-over Halloween candy in there. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why Can't I Just Be Mama?

My children call me Mama.  It was a poignant and personal decision I came to while pregnant with my first child.  Just as it was my privilege (and my husband's) to name our child, it was also my privilege to re-name myself.

A rare and privileged opportunity.

So I am Mama.  And Gabe is Papa.

And now my children are beginning school and entering the world and the teachers and parents and helpers and doctors and nurses and everyone else who has influence over my child uses universal terms like "your Mom" and "your Dad".

When Wolfie was two, three and four, he would always always always refer to me as Mama.  He would adamantly correct anyone who said Dad or Daddy. 

"His name is Papa."

This week Wolfie and I did an activity together which was sent home from school.  Homework, you call it, but it was a word game.  He needs to fill out an evaluation form and answer questions:
1) Was this activity fun?  Yes or No
2) Who did this activity with you?
3) Comments:

The comments part cracks me up.  Future blog reader ;)

But he wrote "Mom".  I admit, I was a little disappointed. 

This afternoon he made a reading test for me.  At the top he wrote Name                                 
I love the authenticity of this.  I took it seriously.  I asked him if he wanted me to write June or Mama.  He told me to just write Mom.  Again with the Mom.  Again I was a little disappointed.

I don't know.  It's just my thing, right.  I'm allowed to have my thing.

PS - I wrote Mama.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

beat it

If you want to know how to play the intro to "Beat It", you only need to know these 7 keys.

We all took turns.

When it was my turn, Luna said, "You're awesome!" but it sounded like "You awshum".

Look close at the bottom left, in case you don't know who sings "Beat It".

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Less Step

Tulip has entered that little girl phase where she likes to play mommy with real live babies.  You know how girls age 4 and up will glom onto toddlers or babies and try to pick them up and carry them around and as a parent you say things like, "Please put her down" for the gazillionth time because you can clearly see that the four-year old carrying the two-year old is going to end in a fall down disaster? 

Though, with sisters, it rarely does.

Tulip started "mothering" her sister recently.  She brushes Luna's teeth.  Luna seems to enjoy this and Tulip likes having both the authority ("Luna, come on.  It's time to get your teeth brushed") and the skill (she can, after all, do this entire task without any adult help).  So I'm letting that one go on.

Now Tulip has figured out the leverage of hoisting Luna out of her booster seat when they are done with a meal.

It's great.  It's a hug for Luna from her big sister.  It's trust for both.  It's care.  It's love.

Sure, it's one less step for Mama too, and it's also what growing families do.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I've Done This

I've taught my children the beauty and awesomeness of the palindrome.  

We began with "stab live evil bats" because I know my son can spell all of that.  Of course, this was in honor of 11-02-2011.

So, now you know one of my Mom geek secrets.  So fess up, what do you do when you get your Mom geek on (or Dad geek)?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween costumes went down like this...

Wolfie wanted to be a tornado for Halloween.  I'm always so impressed with his imagination.  I experienced technical difficulties constructing the tornado for the Halloween party we were going to Thursday night so Gabe suggested Wolfie elaborate last year's Ultrabot costume (a superhero robot that lives in Wolfie's imagination).  He totally saved Halloween.  The red bicycle helmet sparked a thought and then one idea led to another and the Eon Kid materialized in our living room.  Wolfie asked me if it was okay for him to be the Eon Kid instead of a tornado for real Halloween.  Sure, sweet boy.

Tulip wanted to be a black cat.  How simple.  Classic.  Easy going, just like Tulip.  Then we remembered we had this cheetah costume in our dress up box.  There were feathers all around the neck and wrists and when Tulip would play superhero Cheetah Girl, she would get all sweaty from chasing Ultrabot around the house and those feathers became too itchy.  Too often the costume, much to my chagrin, would come off in about 20 minutes.  So I tore off the feathers, except for the embellishment on the skirt.  I think she realized that her costume was pretty glamorous because, after wearing it to three Halloween events prior to real Halloween, I overheard her telling people that she was a cheetah ballerina.  Yes, of course.

Luna wanted to be a ducky.  Oh yes, darling little girl, you will be a ducky.  Gabe and the girls saw ducky costumes at Costco but they were for babies under two.  He then took the girls to Target and Luna picked out the cute baby blue dinosaur costume and if you don't say dinosaur with all three modifiers, Luna will be quick to correct you.