Friday, August 29, 2008

Homework Overload

Doodle had two fairly major homework assignments due today, and she didn't finish them until nearly 10 p.m. last night. I sent her off to bed and then settled in to watch Barak Obama's speech. As I heard Doodle go through her nighttime routine, I considered calling her back down to witness an historic speech. I thought better of it, realizing that the speech would probably be all over the internet for her to see today. Considering her teachers' love of homework, I won't be surprised if she is required to watch the presidential candidates' acceptance speeches as an assignment. I'm already tired of the school year, and it's just getting started. Fortunately, Tootle hasn't had any homework yet; that probably starts next week.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Photo Proofs

Starting Young

Earlier this week I helped out at 1st grade lunch and recess. As I whirled around the room, helping to open milk containers, juice boxes, applesauce, and fruit cups, one little girl in Tootle's class stopped me to tell me that her friend gave her a pushup fruit bar from her cafeteria-bought lunch and she didn't want it. As I went to give the fruit bar back to the friend, I noticed that she already had one on her tray. The tattletale girl piped up that her friend had put an extra fruit bar under her shirt to give to her. I told the offender that it was wrong to take something that she didn't pay for, even if it was for a friend, and then returned the fruit bar to the cafeteria manager. I probably should have made the offender take the fruit bar back. I was really shocked to see a first grader do something like this; she clearly knew that it was wrong since she put it under her shirt. As I listened to the kids talking with each other, I also noted that these girls were quite sassy and mean. That evening I encouraged Tootle to steer clear of these girls. Tootle tends to be a leader rather than a follower, but I don't want her to be influenced by these kids, especially the little thief, in any way. In the 5 years that I have volunteered at this school, this is the first time that I've encountered this kind of behavior. Kids at this school typically are very well mannered and follow the rules. Tootle reports that these two girls have been disruptive in class and had to be separated. It may be a long year for Tootle's teacher.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

School Days

The girls went back to school this week. Both girls have first-time teachers who have just graduated from college. Enthusiasm, energy, and knowledge about the latest techniques balanced against experience and knowledge about how things work well. I'll probably be helping out in Tootle's class more often than I intended so I can keep an eye on things. This has much less of an impact on Doodle because she only has her homeroom teacher for one class a day: science. Doodle is much more affected by getting the same math teacher that she had last year, the one who couldn't seem to teach much in a way that Doodle, and many of the other kids in the class, could understand. Sigh. Tootle, the winking girl, was "thrilled" to go back to school. Doodle was less so, mainly because she doesn't have any of her close friends in her class. By day 2, Doodle started to get into the swing of things. I expect that she will make new friends this year, and keep the old (most of whom have been her friend since kindergarten or 1st grade).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Makeup for First Graders

Earlier this week I took the girls to Celebrity Kids photo studio. I won a package in a school silent auction, and we wanted to have photos taken before Doodle's hair was loped off. Tootle didn't sleep well the night before and had dark circles under her eyes so I used some concealer to hide the evidence. Tonight I had the following conversation with her as we cuddled at bedtime:

Me: You need to get to sleep girl. We have a lot of things to do tomorrow.
Tootle: Can't you just put that stuff under my eyes?
Me, as I burst out laughing: I'm not worried about the circles under your eyes. I don't want you to be in a bad mood.
Tootle: Still that stuff really works.

I think I've created a makeup monster.


Tootle learned how to dive in to the deep end of the pool last week. Within a few days, she decided to dive off the diving board too (something that her more timid sister still doesn't do).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Short and Sassy

Doodle donated 11 inches of her gorgeous hair to Locks of Love today. She is happy with her short and sassy new do. Tootle's hair wasn't long enough yet so she decided to cut off 6 inches, making her hair the same length as her sister's locks. I think they both look cute. This is the second time that J. has cut Doodle's hair for Locks of Love; the first time was three years ago.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Against the Odds

Imagine you're a Nationals player keeping loose during batting practice. You decide to throw one of the balls up to the 29 boys and 1 girl jumping up and down with their gloves in hand. Would you toss it to a girl or a boy? Both pitcher Odalis Perez and catcher Will Nieves went against the odds and threw balls to Doodle, and she easily caught them both. The dads and boys around us were all grousing that they always throw the balls to the cute girls. We left the area after Doodle got the second one for her sister so that other people could have a chance. LOL. The ball has the MLB stamp on it and is labeled as a training/ practice ball. Now Doodle's goal is to catch a game ball, but that's trickier.

Doodle is a huge Mets fan, ever since the Nationals traded her favorite player to the Mets, so I sprung for tickets to Wednesday night's game. She was thrilled to be able to get her ball signed by one of the Mets' pitchers and to have some one-on-one time with me (and it was a long time: batting practice starts 2.5 hours before the game). Tootle stayed home with Nana; she isn't able to stay awake long enough for a night game yet.

Doodle checks the stats in the Sport section of the paper every day and frequently visits the Mets home page. I'm curious to find out what she'll do if the Mets dump her favorite player. She may like backing a winning team so much that she'll stick with them. The Mets creamed the Nats 12-0; it was a painful game to watch.

Monday, August 11, 2008


One of my biggest worries in adopting an almost three-year old back in 2005 was that I would mourn missing out on so many firsts: first words, crawling, walking, etc. I do sometimes get sad when Tootle asks me a question about when she was a baby and I'm not able to give her nearly as much detail as I can Doodle, but I don't really mourn the lost firsts as much as I expected. I quickly learned to shift my perspective and celebrate the firsts that I still get to experience through her eyes. For example, I'm pretty sure that Tootle had never had a band aid before I met her. The wonder with which she beheld her first band aid was something to see.

Last week on vacation we had two new firsts: Tootle's first fishing experience (she LOVED it) and another one that I expected to check off the list at a far younger age: Tootle let me sing her to sleep for the first time. I always sang Doodle to sleep when she was a baby and still do so when she is having a tough time falling asleep. Our go-to song is one I sorta made up, and any time that I have tried to sing it to Tootle, she has quickly told me to stop. On vacation one night both girls were still awake at 10 p.m. because they hadn't processed the sugary goodness of their toasted marshmallows yet, and Doodle asked me to sing. I knew that I couldn't sing the old standard because Tootle would protest, so I sang our No. 2 song, Edelweiss. Surprisingly, Tootle loved it and asked me to sing it again and again. In a short time both girls were asleep. I don't know why I've never tried to sing Edelweiss to Tootle before, but I'm glad that the opportunity finally arose. It was sweet to be able to sing her to sleep, and since we've been home, she has asked me to do it two more times.
The picture is of Edelweiss. I've always loved this song from The Sound of Music that waxes so poetically about a flower, and now it will be even more special to me.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lucky Ears

Doodle is self conscious about the size of her ears, to the point that she doesn't like to pull her hair back. Unexpectedly, I'm taking advantage of the large number of Chinese women being shown in the Olympics coverage on NBC to point out all the Chinese female athletes whose ears are larger than Doodle's, at the same time noting how beautiful they are. I hope it makes Doodle at least a tad less self conscious.

Doodle is aware that the Chinese consider wide ear lobes to be lucky, but it doesn't make her feel any better. We've actually had people in China and staff in Chinese restaurants here in the U.S. comment on what wonderfully lucky ears Doodle has. Nowadays they don't seem so lucky to me; I want the curtain of hair to be tied back. I need to cross my fingers that this phase passes quickly.

Meditative Vacation

We spent last week at this resort in the mountains of Western Maryland. It was so relaxing that the girls decided to "meditate" a few times, once while boating and another when sitting on rocks. We hiked, swam, fished, boated, and toasted marshmallows. The lodge had kids' activities so I signed the girls up for "Hook, Line, and Sinker" where the staff taught the girls how to fish, which meant that I didn't have to be the one to put the bait on their hooks and take the fish off the hooks and release them back into the lake. Tootle caught six fish and even caught a log and a fish at the same time. Doodle caught a small mouth bass and several other fish. Now the trick is for me to stay as relaxed when I return to work tomorrow. Oommmm...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Go China Go

We're having a blast watching the Olympics. We missed the first two hours of the Opening Ceremonies (we were on the road home from vacation) but we were awestruck by what we saw. Tootle quickly went off to bed after seeing some fireworks, but Doodle watched until the end. We were both very touched by the adorable nine-year old earthquake hero and amazed by the spectacular pageantry. Today we did yard work and then had the Olympics on TV all afternoon and evening as we did chores (me) and played (the girls). The girls are having fun rooting for both American and Chinese athletes. Several times today they broke into a loud chorus of "Go, China, go" that our neighbors could probably hear.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Autograph Hounds

Doodle loves baseball, and when we heard that two Washington Nationals players were going to be at the National Zoo signing autographs, we quickly jumped in the car to join in the fun. Doodle was thrilled to have her ball signed by relief pitcher Charlie Manning and infielder Pete Orr; Tootle was less thrilled because it meant aborting a planned trip to the ice rink (accomplished a day later).

Saturday, August 2, 2008


After thinking about disassembling the girls' full-size bunk beds and selling the twin bed that Tootle has slept in for three years, we finally did it today. Tootle's best friend will be sleeping in the twin bed now, and Tootle is thrilled to have more real estate for her stuffed animal "kingdom" (her word, not mine). Doodle is happy that she can feel the cooling breeze from the ceiling fan and that she has a bed that she can jump on again (I didn't think of that drawback). On to identifying more stuff to sell at our yard sale. I think I'll put all profits into saving for a trip to Disney World.

Most nights, Tootle comes racing in to my room and climbs into bed with me in the middle of the night. She claims that the larger bed means that she will only be sleeping with me 1 in every 14 nights. We'll see.