Monday, July 28, 2008

Sticker shock

There is this heinous terrible thing that happens to families called a sticker letter. The idea is you get a letter with two kids’ names on it, the top one you’ve never heard of, and the bottom one you know. What you’re supposed to do is send a pack of stickers to the top kid, then send a copy of the letter with the bottom kid’s name replacing the top kid’s, and your kid’s name replacing the bottom kid’s, to six friends. “Don’t break the chain!” “Your child will get 36 packs of stickers in a couple of weeks!”
I don’t want 36 packs of stickers. I don’t want to obligate 6 friends into participating in this sticker circus. But the person who asked me is someone I like, and she asked so sweetly… okay.

So I put this off for easily a month – way beyond the obligatory week the letter demands. And I figured a way around it. I will send my required stickers to the kid on the top of the list, then I will buy six packs of stickers, send them to six friends of mine with the name and address of the 2nd kid on the list, along with a stamp, and the instructions to please put the stickers in a new envelope and stamp it and address it to this kid. And I’ll take Thing 2 sticker shopping with me when I go and let her pick out a couple of packs for herself, and everyone’s happy.

Well, Thing 2 went over to the neighbor’s, and I thought I’d save myself a stamp, and just run one sticker filled envelope to the neighbor and ask them to address it in their handwriting. The husband was home. He was completely baffled at this whole prospect, asked why didn’t I just tell this woman no, and while he couldn’t turn me down at the request of just writing the girl’s name and address on the envelope for me, he refused to put his return address on it and acted like I was trying to involve him in something really unsavory. Now that I think about it, I vaguely remember his wife refusing to participate a couple of years ago when I got another one of these horrible letters.

Anyway, I felt awful for asking in the first place, but there I was. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, when Thing 1 went over to the neighbor’s, she took a handful of Little Pet Shop animals and put them in a Ziploc to take with her. I suspect that some of these were Little Shops that Thing 2 got for her birthday that she told Thing 1 she could play with. I stopped Thing 1 before she left and told her taking these over there was a bad idea, unless she wasn’t going to be upset about leaving some of them. I went so far as to write on the side of the bag the number of Pet Shops in it. When I went to pick the girls up, Thing 1 ran up to me and handed me the bag. Sure enough, there was one missing. It was probably a mistake to do so after the fiasco with the chain letter, but instead of waiting until we got home, I pointed it out her missing Pet Shop there. I told her that the neighbor girl is a fabulous person and if she was going to leave one at anyone’s house, this neighbor was a good choice, but I didn’t want to hear her complain later that she was missing one. She and the neighbor looked for it again, and eventually found it, but I suppose it made me look like a fool to the neighbors. Little Neighbor girl may never come over to play again. I know I’m going to encourage Thing 2 more stridently to invite the neighbor over here. And there is a new rule that the only toys you take to someone’s house are ones you’ll give them.

Thing 1 has also started this tendency of being outrageously easily embarrassed. She knocked her finger on a hoola-hoop at the neighbor’s, and ran out of the back yard crying, “This is embarrassing!” Everyone just sort of blinks confusedly after her. She’s done this before, if she gets hurt she runs off before anyone can see her cry. When I came home and tried to see what happened, she screams at me from behind her door to go away and not to talk to her. She tells me that a lot, usually when I’m trying to get to the bottom of something. But also, as happened tonight, she’ll come into the room whimpering “Ohhh… it hurts!” and if I say “What happened?” or “What is it?” she barks at me that she doesn’t know and to stop talking to her. Which, I can say freely, is not very endearing.

Of course for every ounce of crabbiness and irrationality that Thing 1 can muster, Thing 2 becomes equally overly pleasant and enthusiastic. She is syrupy sweet and everything is the best ever, and it pisses Thing 1 off even more and Thing 1 starts to shout at her to stop being so happy! I’ve got bi-polar disorder in the house, Thing 1 on the sad and angry end of the scale, and Thing 2 on the manically happy end of the scale.


Thing 1 has been doing some creative writing. Well, mostly it’s creative spelling. She has been writing little notes and using them to communicate with people, other than Thing 2 who can’t read. Notes like “(Thing 1) needs a book” are easy to figure out, but sometimes she has trouble with spelling. Lately she’s been spelling “love” as “lav.” When I told her to erase the tail of the a and put an E on the end, it became “Lave.” She’s been leaving messages around “I lave you”
Hubby showed me one she wrote him. It’s my favorite. It says:

(Thing 1) needs a dreeingK

Gotta love that.

We celebrated Thing 2’s birthday on the 25th. She had a nice party, but started to cry when the adults took too long eating dinner and she got impatient to open her presents. If she would have had her way, we would have opened presents FIRST. Not just before Cake and Ice Cream, but Before Dinner!

Oh crap. I just went to upload a picture from her party, but there is just an empty file. I delete the pictures off the camera when I upload them, so it looks like I just erased all of her birthday party pictures without even seeing them... Dangnabbit!

Thing 1 and 2 have been very good to keep our present for Daddy for Christmas a secret. I thought Thing 1 was going to spill the beans the other day, when we were asking her what she wanted for her birthday she said she wanted a “Wall-e game for the Wii…” after a moment’s hesitation she said “but we don’t have a Wii… so I guess I don’t get that.”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A day at the Beach

When I type on the computer, I usually sit at the kitchen table at the spot where Thing 1 usually sits to eat. They came in and said they’re hungry for breakfast and Thing 1 gathered her cereal and bowl, then came over and with a very sincere smile on her face said “Thank you for warming up my seat.” I suspected she was just politely asking me to leave, but when I asked her she said no, she was just glad I’d warmed her seat for her, then she launched into a hug fest.

I took the girls to Lagoona beach on Thursday and had a rather magical experience. Just the three of us, in the crowd, floating down the “lazy river” was wonderful. It was a bright sunshiny day, and these darling girls were playing back and forth across the tubes and splashing and having a ball. One of the treasured moments of my life…

Of course I was in the water and don't have any pictres, but we have had a lot of fun on the rest of the rides too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Doing Swimmingly

The countdown to Thing 2’s birthday has begun. Just ask her. She is so excited she is nearly stopping people on the street to remind them. She’s told anyone her age within speaking distance that they’re “vited.” I need to go down and check my stash to see what she’s getting versus what we’re giving her for Christmas.

We have a hummingbird feeder outside. I just went out and hacked back a tree we have out there that grows completely out of control every year so I could see the hummingbird feeder because I am curious as to where all the juice is going. For the first month it seemed the level never dropped, but recently it seems like it drops an inch a day. Since humming birds don’t make a mess, I don’t mind, but I’d really like to see the little guys as they come to the feeder. So far I haven’t seen one eating at it. Dropping an inch a day you’d think there’d be a hummingbird parade.

The cruise, which is another story (wonderful but too long to include much here) gave the girls the opportunity to do more swimming. The week before we left on the cruise, I had the girls in their 2nd week of a two week swimming lesson session. I left them to their lessons for a moment to go sign them up for another two week session after the cruise, and came back to see Thing 2 sitting all alone, dejected, on the side of the pool. I came up behind her and she immediately crawled in my lap and started to cry. She said that since she refused to get her face wet she was sitting up there. The words “Time Out” came up in later retellings of the story, but she didn’t say that to me immediately. I am not happy that she was given an ultimatum, get your face in the water or get out of the pool, but I have been a little frustrated with her tenderness of late, and told her it’s too bad she doesn’t like getting water in her face, but she needs to learn how to swim and if that’s the next step, she’s going to have to get her face wet when they ask her.

I didn’t know what to do about this, I hate forcing her to do this if she doesn’t want to, and here I had just paid for her next stretch of lessons, and I do need her to learn how to swim. So I dug around in some of the cupboards and found a set of goggles that we’d bought for her earlier in the year when we were trying to figure out how to get both girls to get their faces in the water. Thing 1 hadn’t really been having that much of a problem with it, by the way. She is the oldest in the class – I had her in the same beginning class as Thing 2 since the requirements for Level 2 on the website seemed beyond her.
I called Hubby that night and mentioned it to him, and he surprised me with how concerned he was, he seemed to really feel for this poor little girl who hates to get her face wet, which is very sweet. I wasn’t ready to be that upset about it, and she seemed pretty okay with the goggle idea.

The next day was like comparing apples to dolphins. Once she had her magic goggles on, Thing 2 started out by blowing bubbles as she was asked, going deeper and deeper until her whole head was under water. By the end of the lesson she was plugging her nose, bending her legs and motoring around the pool in a funny squat walk with just the top curls of her head out of the water. The rest of the week’s lessons she was just like that, all about getting her face in.
On the cruise it was more of the same, with her learning quite a bit from Hubby. By the end of the cruise she was letting go of her nose, and she and Thing 1 both were swimming underwater – with their faces submerged. Thing 1 has a kind of underwater breathstroke that she does, and Thing 2 kind of does a wildly splashing front crawl. But both of them were swimming halfway across the pool and back, in water well over their heads, and loving it.

We’re into our next session, Thing 1 is in Level 2, and Thing 2, since at the end of Level 1 she still hadn’t quite mastered some of the required skills, is in Level 1. I think she pretty much mastered everything she was supposed to with her daddy’s help in Alaska, but we kind of are obligated to complete this round of swim lessons. The would probably be okay with another round, both of them in Level 2, but I thought they needed a little freedom the rest of the summer, so I didn’t register them for the next (last) session of the summer. But they’re such little fish now, I imagine we’ll work on swimming more next summer, unless I decide to see if I can get them some lessons this winter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Run that by me again?

Thing 2 just told me when I was done working on the computer, she wants to go on “buildabear dot kong” I said “dot kong?” She said “Yeah, dot Kong.”

Father's Day

Father’s day.

Thing 1 spoke in Primary and did a fabulous job. She and I, well, I mostly, wrote the talk this morning, with her help. She drew four pictures to go with it. The nice part was Hubby was in town and was able to be there for it, then we had the presentation of the decorated ties, and he came to Sacrament with us, of course wearing his two sparkly dolled-up ties.

Both girls had a good day.
It is 12:25 a.m., and I am sort of staying up out of solidarity for Hubby, who has a 6:00 am flight tomorrow to Baltimore and is still working on stuff for his presentation. I try to support whatever he needs to do… But I do resent being barked at when he gets stressed. I don’t know quite how to handle it, it is just easier to leave him alone, take orders quietly and then get the hell out of his way. I don’t much like it, and I don’t know how I’m going to explain the process to the girls someday, but I am glad I don’t work for him. I don’t know if people successfully told him to just can it, or redirect his stress-temper somewhere else. He can get pretty biting when he is under pressure.

Well, and he did need a good massage, and if there’s ever a day he should deserve one, it’s Father’s Day. And he did spend his whole morning sitting unproductively in church for me and the girls. So now he’s paying for it by staying up all night getting ready for the conference tomorrow.

I got the girls registered for swim lessons starting next week. I’m pretty excited, and I think Thing 1 has realized she needs to know after her bobbing under the surface incident in Vegas… but I don’t think Thing 2 is at all interested. I’m very interested in starting the process toward them both being comfortable in the water, though. I’ve got them in the same class because they’re both beginners. They’ll wrap up the day before we go to Alaska, and I’ll try and get them registered for the next session.

Okay. I’m going to bed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tooth Fairy Booty

Thing 1 was enchanted with her tooth the rest of the day yesterday. I had her put it in a tiny cup, which she carried around with her. It sat next to her watching TV, and joined us for stories yesterday. In the evening she put it under her pillow four or five times last night, only to pull it out later to admire it and carry it around a little more. Thing 2 was so excited about it too, the two of them crawled up to Thing 1’s bed several times to look at the tiny tooth under the pillow, and Thing 2 gushed how when she was six maybe she would lose a tooth.

The tooth fairy left four quarters under Thing 1’s pillow last night, but apparently she only found three, I think. I did hear some rather animated discussion this morning, Thing 2 was assuring Thing 1 that she should share her tooth bounty. Thing 1 agreed readily enough, so I’m not sure if the three quarter count was before or after Thing 2 took her cut. I was going to argue with including Thing 2 in Thing 1’s tooth bounty, but part of me says it’s not my business to question Thing 1’s generous nature. Maybe I should argue with Thing 2’s tendency to include herself in any distribution out of money. I plan on suggesting to her that she give Thing 1 a cut for her own tooth bounty, but as they remind me fairly frequently, “you’ll forget, mommy.”

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back from Alaska

Thing 1 lost her first tooth today. A lot of her friends have had teeth out, but even though she’s the oldest in her class, this is her first tooth. She’s kind of excited, she keeps going into the bathroom to look in the mirror.

We just got back yesterday from the Alaska cruise. It was wonderful. Very few complaints… I kept a journal and took pictures and videos, I expect it won’t turn out to be as much media in retrospect as I thought. I always end up wishing I had more pictures. I bought a new video camera just before we left, and absolutely loved it. It fit in a pocket inside my purse, and I was able to pop it out whenever I wanted.
Maybe someday I'll translate some pictures and the journal into an entry here. Right now... Nope.

I am feeling tired and a little crabby. I got a cold from Jeff on the cruise, and I think I ran myself down trying to pretend I wasn’t sick, and now I’m feeling wrung out. I have a sinus headache, and really just want to take a nap. Instead I’ve got laundry and other catching up to do. The house was relatively in order when we left, but it doesn’t take us long to mess it up again. The kids have spent the better part of the day in front of the TV. My “one hour a day” rule went out the window today.