Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Imaginative Play FAIL

I think I was a pretty imaginative child.  I spent hours daydreaming from a cherry tree branch while singing Carpenters songs when I was little.  In my head I was high above the ground, but I was also a ridiculously short kid.  Practically a munchkin.  It was probably four feet.  I realize now that my imagination didn't hold a candle to Emily's.

I put Jacob down for a nap today and came out to find Em laying on her stomach behind the sofa.  I laid down beside her and whispered, "What are we doing?"

"We're hiding from Coco.  He's a monster."

"Ooooh...  Where is he?"

"He's in the kitchen.  He's really big and do you hear that?  His voice is green."

"Impressive.  I didn't know you could see a voice."

"We're pretending."

"Right.  Ooooh!  I have an idea.  We'll wear my invisible cape so he won't see us!"

"Good idea.  And we'll need to say something to scare him away."

"I've got it.  Ooga-booga-Coco-be-gone!"

"How about we just say, 'Boo.'"

She may as well have said, "Mommy, This is not that hard.  Try to keep up."

We tip-toed from behind the sofa and Em continued the elaborate tale that involved Miss Muffett (who apparently knows sign language), a treasure, a witch, and an unknown Disney princess named Giselle.  She insisted I play the part of the witch (noted).

"And my name is Sensashanah."

"Alright, Sensashanah."

"No...  SHENsashanah."

"OK.  Shensashanah."

"ShensaSHAAAnah.  You can just call me Violet."

At this rate I may be asked to sit the next one out.  You're clearly better at this than I am, Violet.  Be patient with me.  I promise to try harder tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

School is Now in Session

Lessons from Emily:

1.  Toilet water is fun to play with.
2.  It's possible to eat nothing but fruit for an entire week.
3.  The value of something increases exponentially when a brother has it.
4.  Tantrum memory lasts 5 seconds.  I'll be over it long before you recover.
5.  You'll do everything you said you'd never do.
6.  I don't care.  You're a superhero in my eyes.
7.  You will love me more than you thought possible.

Lessons from Jacob:

1.  Toilet water is fun to play with.
2.  A blueberry fits perfectly in a toddler nostril.
3.  Bathroom drawers may be used as a step ladder.
4.  Things with wheels are awesome.
5.  Private parts are even MORE awesome.
6.  You can hold me while making a PB&J for my sister.  Superhero status confirmed.
7.  You will love me more than you thought possible.

The biggest surprise lesson has been in the area of character education. I thought I would always be the teacher, of course.  We saw a woman crossing the street the other day with a baby in a stroller and (gasp!) a toddler sitting astride the attached overhead shade.  He held on for dear life while she pushed the wobbly contraption across the busy street.

Em:  "That is a cool stroller!"

Mommy on her high Mommy horse:  "Well...  That's not how it was made to be used.  The little boy up top isn't buckled in.  He could fall and get hurt.  That's not a seat and it's not safe for them to use it like that.  Especially crossing a street!"

Em:  "I guess they don't have a stroller with two seats."

(Gulp) She's absolutely right.  The young mother is doing the best she can with what she has.  I can't believe my 4 year old knows this and I was readily passing judgment.  I told Emily she was right and that I had forgotten that people generally do the best they can.  What a great reminder.  My other little teacher had a lesson for me that day as well:  Smashing bananas into your hair can be used to signal a meal is over.  All this time I've been doing it wrong!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beauty and the Beast

Em asked if we could play Cinderella the other day.  She told me SHE would be Cinderella "because I'm the beautifulest."  Ouch.  It's a fine line to walk when you're trying to promote your kid's self-esteem while trying NOT to teach her that self-worth is found in appearances.  I tend to catch myself, but typically only after I've already blown it.

"You're such a pretty girl!!  And SMART!  You're SO smart.  Which is so much more important.  And your imagination is fantastic.  And you're great at problem solving!  You could be a scientist.  Or an astronaut!  Or president!!  I should stop now."

I'm not worried about Em's self-esteem at all.  Mine, on the other hand, may start slipping if Emily keeps noticing things while I'm getting ready in the mornings.

"What are those lines on your belly?"

Stay calm.  Totally normal.  I'm proud of carrying two babies.  Let her know this is no big deal.

"When Mommies carry babies in their bellies it stretches the skin WAY out.  Some more than others. me.  So, it stretches.  And those are called stretch marks."

Em looked thoughtfully at my stomach.

"What about the line on your forehead?"

Awesome.  She's asking about a wrinkle.  That's super.

"When people get a little older they sometimes get wrinkles on their faces."  Em then informed me she doesn't want to get old.  Or have babies.  I obviously missed the mark on the whole this-is-all-very-normal-and-beautiful message.

"Why is your bottom bigger than mine?"

And that's when I kicked her out of my bathroom.  I can only take so much!