Thursday, November 29, 2007

FFFF: Hair

Both of my girls have beautiful hair that grows quickly. When I met Doodle, her hair was a bit curly and on humid days she had ringlets. Wasn't she a gorgeous baby? Sadly, as her hair grew and was cut, the curls disappeared. In 2005, a few months before traveling to bring Tootle home, Doodle cut off 11 inches to donate to Locks of Love. Today, her hair is once again quite long.
Tootle came to me with elaborately done braids. She often asks for her hair to be braided (she calls it twist) but I only make two, not 10 or so on each side. Her preferred hairstyle today is a small tail to the side to keep her hair out of her eyes.
To see other cute kids and their hairstyles, go here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bizarre Bedtime Conversations: The Finger and Taxadermy

Something was in the air tonight. As Tootle and I snuggled in bed, Tootle said, "Doodle says that if I put out just my middle finger it means a bad word. What word does it mean? Is it hate? Is it stupid?"

An hour later as Opal the cat helped to tuck in Doodle, Doodle stroked her beloved cat and asked: "What are we going to do with Opal's fur?" I looked puzzled, so Doodle added, "You know when she dies." It appears that Doodle thinks we should have the cat stuffed, a la Sorrow, the stuffed dog that floats in John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire. We talked about burial and cremation but Doodle is still in favor of taxidermy. I just did a google search, and it appears that you can freeze dry your dead pet. I hope that Opal is with us for years to come and that Doodle doesn't revisit this topic for some time. Death was probably on Doodle's mind because we learned this afternoon that our former pastor just died, only a few weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and four months after leaving our church for a new assignment. He was in his 50s. I hugged the girls extra tight tonight (despite our rather unusual conversations).

On Immigration and Kids and Languages and Commitments

Over the weekend Tootle and I spent quality time at the urgent care center so that we could banish her sinus infection with better antibiotics. As Tootle leaned against me and diligently worked on her Hidden Pictures book, I took note when an Asian girl of about six approached the front desk staff and politely inquired about when her family would be seen. (This place has appointments but an emergency had pushed those times back by 45 minutes or so.) Later when the family's name was called, her father went up to the desk with her. He spoke in his native language and the daughter translated. She was so articulate and poised and confident for one so young. I couldn't imagine one of my girls assuming that role at such a young age. But then I thought: if we had moved to China when I adopted Tootle at age 3, she likely would have retained her Chinese and would have been outgoing enough to assume this role by age 4-5, knowing that I still would have been hopelessly fumbling to communicate (linguistics is not my forte). I know that when young children take on what are typically adult/responsible roles, it is usually out of necessity and they lose a bit of the joy and carefree nature of childhood, but on this day I glimpsed what can be gained: remarkable confidence and poise.

I wish Tootle had been willing to continue to speak Chinese when she came home but she was determined to make English her only language. I have a neighbor who is fluent in Mandarin and a Chinese coworker who were lined up and ready to work with her to retain at least some of her Mandarin but she refused to listen to them or respond when they spoke to her. She is an obstinate child. Today she only uses one Chinese phrase: "bu yao." She says this when she is finished with her dinner without cleaning off her plate or if she tries something and doesn't like it. Doodle, adopted at 7 months, has a larger Chinese vocabulary than Tootle. More than two years later, there is some hope, however. Tootle has expressed interest in taking the once a week Chinese class offered at her school starting in January. I think she'll pick it up easily and the tones will come naturally, so I have my fingers crossed that we'll be turning in the registration form. I don't believe in forcing my kids to do things that they don't want to do (I may push a bit but I don't bulldoze) so Tootle will have to agree to the class. Conversely, once committed she will attend until the end of the year whether she likes it or not. I don't allow the girls to bail out of things that they've committed to do.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday Card Bloopers

We headed to the mall today for a visit and picture with Santa. As I often do, I brought along my camera and used Santa's set as the backdrop for our holiday card photos. I got enough good shots to create a card with three photos, but I also managed to capture some rather unattractive looks...

Did the girl get any sleep last night, and what about Santa?

Put that camera down right now or else I'm going to blow.

On the Ice

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cast Off

When the nurse sawed off Tootle's cast this afternoon, I was struck by how fragile and small her arm looks. She's still like an injured baby bird. She was very cautious about using her right arm all night although she says that it doesn't hurt at all when she does use it. By Thursday she likely will throw caution to the wind and it will be like her broken wrist never happened. The doctor said that the wrist is fully healed and only gave her one restriction: no monkey bars for another month. She can go ice skating so we likely will head to a rink this weekend. I ordered ice skates for her tonight from LL Bean. They are supposed to be more comfortable than regular skates and are described as being like sneakers. They have to be better than the rental skates, and how can we go wrong with pink.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Two Hershey Bars

We're considering an excursion to Hersheypark's Christmas Candylane when we're in Pennsylvania later this week visiting relatives. The possibility led two excited girls to ask me to measure them. In our household height is measured according to Hersheypark's candy bar coded ride restriction guidelines. This summer Tootle was a Reeses (able to ride the Comet wooden rollercoaster) and Doodle a Hershey bar (cleared for various steel rollercoasters and bumper cars). Tootle desperately wants to be a Hershey Bar and Doodle a Twizzler (cleared for the kind of rollercoasters that I probably won't let her ride). As of this morning, Tootle stands at 48 inches in her shoes, officially a Hershey bar. Doodle, at 53 inches, is still an inch shy of her goal. She should become a Twizzler in time for next summer's trip to Hersheypark. Very few of the thrilling rides are open in the winter (the rollercoasters can't run in the cold weather) so falling short shouldn't matter too much. Doodle, who didn't become a Hershey bar until she was 7, is amazed that Tootle has reached this milestone at age 5. My tall girl is likely to tower over her older sister in a few short years.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

FFFF: Dressing for the Weather

There's a chill in the air and a bit of a breeze so we donned fleece jackets and sweatshirts to rake leaves this afternoon. The poem is one that Doodle recited for a poetry presentation last year. To see other adorable kids dressed for the weather where they live click here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Recalls and Holiday Shopping

This morning I got an e-mail from Toys R Us assuring me of their "commitment to safety." The company has implemented more product testing, and is demanding that their manufacturers do the same. Somehow I still feel a bit uneasy, perhaps because I have Aqua Dots sitting on a closet shelf waiting to be returned to Spin Master in a prepaid envelope. While I'm waiting for this envelope to arrive, I go back and forth about whether I am going to trust the replacement product that they send. I've already decided not to buy Tootle any Dora the Explorer toys for Christmas because I think that she will soon outgrow Dora, and why take a chance. Under the tree on Christmas morning, Tootle will find a Polly Pocket cruise ship (there are no magnets), a V-tech Nitro notebook, a few puzzles and games, and the American Girl Ivy doll. Doodle no longer plays with the types of things that have been recalled. She will get the Ivy doll, a rock tumbler, some games, and a few books. Most of these items have already been purchased online or in stores, so I'll be able to call this holiday shopping season a wrap soon. Time to move on to the holiday card.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dynamites, 3, Parents, 2

I played in my first soccer game ever today, and I had fun and avoided injury. I'm actually looking forward to the rematch at the end of the spring season. When I told the girls that there were no soccer leagues when and where I grew up, they looked at me incredulously. Girls at the time could choose field hockey, basketball, or softball. I didn't excel at any of them. Based on today's performance, I might have been better at soccer. Or perhaps my performance was boosted by five minutes of pregame instruction from Doodle. I hope I'm not sore in the morning.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Little Goalie That Could

Until today Doodle had played every position in her first soccer season except goalie. Today she played goalie in the first half and revealed to everyone that she may be small but she is mighty. The Dynamites led 1-0 at the half (in the bottom right photo Coach Mike is giving Doodle a high five for her efforts). Unfortunately the team lost their lead in the second half and didn't have time to come back, so they lost their last game of the season. The teammates weren't down for long because they found out that they won their division and got trophies. I'm proud of Doodle for how hard she played this fall; she's looking forward to the spring. Tomorrow: the dreaded parent/girl game.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday Funk

I'm feeling sorry for myself tonight for several reasons:

  • In working with a colleague on a book that we are coediting, I am feeling jealous of her life. She has homes in Manhattan and the Jersey shore, a fulfilling career, and adult kids who are out doing good in the world. I don't want the girls to leave the nest yet (and maybe never), and my friend is a bit older than me, but I do want her life in 10-15 years.
  • Doodle has a more exciting social life than I do. Tonight she went to dinner at a friend's house and then to see The Bee Movie with the friend's family. Tootle and I stopped at McDonald's for dinner and then went to the grocery store to pick up snacks for tomorrow morning's soccer game in 40 degree weather.
  • I have to put away/recycle the girls' spring/summer clothes and organize the piled up fall/winter stuff in drawers. I loathe this job. I think I'll make Doodle my apprentice so she can be responsible for her own stuff in the spring.
  • I am facing certain humiliation on Sunday. Doodle's soccer team caps off their season with a girls vs. parents game. I've never played soccer in my life, but my precious daughter expects me to do it. One friend is planning to send in her teenage son as her substitute. I can't copy her idea because even though Tootle would definitely play better than I can, she's on the injured list for another week. Doesn't Doodle realize that I'm certain to embarrass her?

Time to raid the Halloween candy stash.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Elephants, I Think

In advising someone about Disney World highlights for a two-year-old, I was reminded of one of my favorite Doodle stories. In October 2000, when Doodle was 2, we went to Disney World as part of a giant CCAI reunion. We had a blast catching up with our travel group and taking advantage of all the special character meet and greets CCAI arranged (Doodle loved hugging the characters and even let the Genie from Aladdin hold her). Doodle's favorite ride, and she loved them all, was It's a Small World, AKA "the boat ride" in two-year-old Doodle speak.

A few days after coming home, I told her that we were going to vote in the presidential election that day and that we might have to stand in line. The following exchange occurred:

Doodle: Boat ride? (said the veteran of Magic Kingdom lines)

Me: No, we're not going back to Disney World today (as that infernal song started to play in my head yet again). But there are elephants and donkeys.

Doodle: Elephants, I think.

My little prognosticator accurately forecast the election results.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Two More Weeks

Poor Tootle. She woke up this morning looking flushed and declaring that she didn't feel well. My instant diagnosis was sinus infection, so I called the doctor's office for an appointment. Two hours later, the doctor confirmed my amateur diagnosis, and we headed to CVS to fill the prescription. After lunch at home I loaded her back in the car for an appointment with the orthopedist. She fell asleep on the way there and cried loudly as the nurse sawed off the cast. The doctor decided that we need to protect the wrist bones for a bit longer (probably a good call for a kid who loves the monkey bars) so she got a new cast and a promise that it will come off in two weeks. When we got home, Doodle and her friend raced to sign the new cast. This cast is thankfully blue, so it won't show the dirt nearly as much as the glow in the dark one. The new cast also stops below Tootle's elbow so she has more mobility. Tootle went to bed early. I hope she has a better day tomorrow.

Monday, November 5, 2007


At Tootle's school classes are awarded rainbows for good behavior at lunch, walking in the hallways, at music, art or PE class, etc. The class with the most rainbows at the end of the month gets a prize. Tootle and her classmates may be in their first year of school, but they keep close track of their rainbows and work hard to earn them. Over the weekend, the girls and I went out to dinner. Service was very slow, but the time went fairly quickly as we talked and played games. As we finally finished our meal, the patrons at two separate nearby tables complimented the girls on how well behaved they are. Tootle turned to me and said, "Mom, we just earned two rainbows!"

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Ice Tour Cometh

Going to a Disney ice show is a lot like going to Disney World: the money is sucked out of your wallet, but everyone is thoroughly entertained. Tootle's glasses light up, and the hat was "free" with cotton candy. Doodle opted for a diary; she has already written a top secret entry and secured the diary's lock.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

On Art and Mothering

Tootle's inner artist has emerged in the past few months. I had no idea that she could draw such a good horse, and the sheep is pretty cute too. The donkey is a bit squished at the edge of the paper, and she didn't put much effort into the floating house. Tootle's kindergarten class is reading Margaret Wise Brown books right now, so she decided to illustrate The Big Red Barn. Doodle wrote the title and felt bad that she messed up on the "g" in "Big."
Doodle asked to keep the drawing and then proudly declared "Our Boo Boo is growing up." Sometimes Doodle thinks she is a coparent and other times she regresses to her sister's level.