Saturday, December 26, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
stalk for about 5 minutes straight. Not eating it, just holding it in
Parrots don't usually do this, y'know? They eat their food if they
like it, they drop it if they weren't immediately sure, and if they
know they don't like it, they'll push it back at you without beaking
it at all.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Dash had a Pirate Party, complete with awesome pirate cake!
See how he admires his awesome pirate cake? He's probably thinking about eating it.
Oh, yes, it will be good.
Can you believe how I'm torturing poor Dash? I'm making him wait and wait while his friends sing the Happy Birthday song. Can you see how he glowers in pain?
Oh, whew, gratification fulfilled.
Happy birthday little dude!
Just because it was hilarious, I'm adding this photo in for you. A little friend of Dash's, Peyton, had such a splasherific time in our kiddie pool that she got all her clothes sopping wet. And what party favor did we have excessive amounts of thanks to Oriental Trading Company? Bandannas!! Peyton went home dressed entirely in pirate bandannas. Oh, it was fun.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
In this photo, the dancers are lining up in twos and threes to travel, learning step-hops or skate-step in unison or with the beat of the music. Dash, with his shaggy unkempt bed-head, is holding hands with Genevieve, a friend from his daycare. I swear, some of the parents sent their girls in with professional hair-dos! The blond in front had a halo-style French braid sprinkled with glitter complete with glitter accents on her eyelids and cheeks.
Dash is waving to his audience and loving galloping around the room (they pretend to ride horses, which teaches chassé) to all end up twirling into an improvised pose at the back of the room. One girl has already chosen a lunge-type pose, while the rest are still in motion.
Here they are at the barre, learning tendus. Notice that Dash is looking confidently forward, while the other students are either looking confused, watching him, or getting direct instruction from the teacher.
He is going to be such a great ballet dancer, I can tell! I do hope he continues with the practice; there are so few boys in the upper levels. We tell him that there always needs to be a Prince in the traditional ballets, right? Who will the ballerinas have to perform with?
I wonder, at what age should I consider taking him to a ballet performance? I'm not sure he'd sit through one at this age...
He told me that that's him on the far left, then Rosie, then ME (the biggest, and most important, I'd like to think, right?), and Monkeyrotica on the far right. I forgot to ask why his daddy had dots on his hands and feet, but he told me all about what I first assumed were some sort of dickey on our chests. They are our tongues. Explanation? He has been rather obsessed with his new Pokémon toy, Lickilicky.
Monday, December 14, 2009
This quote from Charlotte P. Lee, an assistant professor at the University of Washington's College of Engineering, (from NPR.org) sums up what disturbed me most about his situation:
"All of us had lost touch with him over the years. How would you know if one of your friends not only lost touch with you, but had also lost touch with almost everyone they know? You wouldn't."It made me think of Dee's friend Chris, who despite having a close friendship in the recent past, found that a year passed before she learned about his death. You lose touch with friends over the years, it's a fact; interests diverge, separations emerge, geographically or otherwise. Factoring in the passage of time where one assumes your friend is just living their life, doesn't need you, only escalates the grief and guilt when you learn that they are gone or missing. Was there something you could have done, personally, to have kept them around? Yes? No? Ugh, you'll never know, will you? It's heartbreaking.
Again, nobody currently knows what Phil Agre's status is, although there are clues that rest in the negative: references to mental illness in his medical history, keeping friendships at arm's length, occasional reclusive disappearances. Perhaps he's well and just researching an intensive, scholarly work where being disconnected is necessary.
While searching for some information myself, I found the last posting (in 2005) on his Yahoo! Group, pagre, summing up our decade:
The 2000's are not a decade of breaking news. What is happening now that you need the Internet to understand? The most important story of the 2000's, in my opinion, is the war over language in the United States that I have discussed [on this Yahoo! Group] earlier. And this is a story that happens on numerous time-scales from milliseconds to millennia. Important things are happening literally to the interfaces between the subjects and verbs in English sentences, yet these things are continuous with the arguments between conservatives and democrats in ancient Greece. That, for example, is why Ekaterina Haskins' "Logos and Power in Isocrates and Aristotle," in addition to being scholarship of the highest order, could scarcely be more relevant.
Ten More Things That Piss Me OffI'd have to agree with the majority of his list (esp. #9!!), as well as some of what he's saying in the first paragraph. He has reading lists of recommended books and papers that can be found through Google Scholar (I never even KNEW there was a Google Scholar!). Just in a brush with his online persona, I have touched on potentially mind-opening information. I do hope more details come to light.
2. people who claim that tomatoes are a fruit
3. PBS (i.e., American public television)
4. the brightly inane writing in most tourist guidebooks
5. those Citibank ads
6. the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
7. the verb "to morph"
8. anything pertaining to the "American Songbook"
9. mayonnaise, or as scientists call it, "death slime"
10. the phrase "thanks in advance"
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I'm in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and am listening to Dash's sweet little four-year-old voice asking Rosie, "How do you spell 'dummy'?" and, "How do you spell 'snipe'?"
Then, I hear, "How do you spell, 'I love Rosie'?"
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Despite this long history (beginning in 2004 with Rosie at 2 years old), we've been meaning to move Dash to a daycare closer to home for a couple of years now. It's not only because it's an easier commute and cheaper, but a major benefit is that he'll be in preschool with other children who will be moving with him to his elementary school. Rosie lost her school and all of her school friends when she moved to Kindergarten; I'd like to make it easier for Dash. The current center is far enough away that none of the students are in our school district.
He didn't get moved in years earlier because there weren't any places for Rosie, and who wants to make two daycare drop-offs? Last year we couldn't move him because there was a waitlist. So, what's different now? I called and there was a space open! He'll be transferring at the beginning of 2010.
December will be a month of goodbyes to staff and friends at daycare. We've had either Rosie and/or Dash at this center since 2004, so I'll be writing lots of thank you notes and preparing many gifts. Dash has friends at his school, but he rarely asks for playdates with them — I'm not sure how much he will miss them.
So what's the bad news? The county might be cutting all Kindergarten to half-days in 2010. Budget cuts, you know. The waitlist for school-based after-care is already 100+ people long. What to do? Things will work out by then, right?
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
The apron looks so sweet on her, and now she'll never be without pockets.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
The menu was:
oven-roasted turkey, giblet gravy, stuffing, wild rice with cranberries & turkey, jellied cranberry (y'know, the kind shaped like the can! yum), stewed okra w/tomatoes, strawberry-baked ham, sweet potato dinner rolls, traditional mashed potatoes, red beans & rice, roasted potatoes, apple crisp, pumpkin pie
Man, it all tasted wonderful! After dinner we took the kids for a walk to a local park. They'd been playing for a while when my mom noted aloud that it was going to get dark soon and asked Dash, "and what comes out when it gets dark?" thinking he'd say something cute like, "the Moon!" or "owls!"
But, no, his face melted into terror, he looked all around in fear, and screamed that he wanted to go home NOW and in a CAR. I got us all motivated to leave and convinced Dash that it really wasn't that dark yet and we'd be home before dark even if we walked. So, why, might you ask, was Dash so terrified about being outside after dark?
Have any of you seen one or all of these horror movies? Dash has, with his daddy. The answer is: ZOMBIES.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
We brought the family parrot, Weegee, out for our Thanksgiving dinner, so he could enjoy time with the flock and eat some tasty comestibles. But, really, he was only starved for some attention from Grandma Sheila. We tried feeding him some scraps from his table-side cage. He was not interested, and just bobbed his head and chirped for Grandma. We let him out to sit on the back of Grandma Sheila's chair, where he accepted some potato from her. It wasn't too long before we realized that he was only taking food from her hand in hopes that he could catch her finger and climb on.
He sat on her shoulder for as long as she tolerated him, all feathers fluffed in happiness, giving her kisses, and begging for the privilege of drinking from her water glass. In bird terms, this is LOVE.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Rosie just turned 7, and while she draws very well and likes to write stories, I knew that I was going to be helping. A lot. I was determined to let her make the decisions and try not to influence her too much. But in the flurry to finish before bedtime last night, she was upset that I was "doing all of it." So not true!! I perked her up with this pep talk:
"Who picked the subject?" (How the Indeins Helpt the Pilgrims)
"Me," said Rosie.
"Who wrote the story?" (Two pages of prose on maize farming, Wampanaug-style)
"Me," said Rosie.
"Who drew the illustrations?" (Her two pages had four hand-drawn & -colored scenes, total.)
"Me," said Rosie.
"Who drew and cut out all the plant pieces?" (Her shoe-box diorama showed three stages of corn plant, using cut construction paper and pipe cleaners.)
"Me," said Rosie.
"Who decided to make popcorn to hand out to her classmates?"
"Me," said Rosie.
"Who wrote the title on the box and signed her name?"
"Me," said Rosie.
"See? All I did was make the box and help with the pipe cleaners! Most of it was you, sweetie."
After letting this sink in, a huge smile crept onto her face showing sincere pride in all that she'd done. For sure, I was helping every step of the way, because she needed motivating to get it all done in time, but all the work underlying the diorama's theme and basic elements came from her. So that her presentation would run more smoothly and she could face her classmates, I copied her story (that ended up taped —by her— onto the shoebox lid) onto note cards. She was so very excited about the end result, she was bouncing off the walls and kept saying, "I can't wait for Mrs. Clark to see this!" It warms my heart to see her this revved-up about school work.
I'm planning on videotaping her presentation tonight and posting it up here. Look for it! I was so focused on FINISHING IN TIME that I didn't take any photos. I know we must tonight—or soon, before her brother destroys the shoebox—her presentation's adorable.
So, how much did I actually do? I'm not telling. The way I built-out the shoebox was rather complex. But she truthfully did everything I asked about above.
UPDATE: Silly me, of course her teacher is keeping the presentation at school, set up in the school library, no less! Who knows when I'll be seeing it again at home for videotaping or otherwise?
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
We were all crazy about Devo, reading all the liner notes, memorizing their personal info, singing their songs and memorizing the lyrics. We were from the Midwest, they were from the Midwest; there were four of us and there were four (or five, math is hard) of them; it was kismet. We each "married" a Devo member, became "spudgirls" and made ourselves the red dome hats out of cardboard. Judi was the oldest and "married" Mark Mothersbaugh, Mary got hitched to Jerry Casale, Linda wed Bob Casale, and I pled my troth to Bob Mothersbaugh. I got Bob 1, mostly because he was deemed least attractive with his long face and large nose and the other girls were all bigger than me—not much room to argue. We sang and danced around to their albums, banging into each other, and being totally goofy whenever we met up, for months. Good times.
It's 2009 and I just saw Devo on tour with some very favorite friends at the 9:30 club in DC on Sunday night. It was amazing!! Devo played fast, hard, and loud, kept the energy high and ROCKED. It was one of the best shows I've seen in a long time. The guys, all in their late-50s, performed famously, keeping the bizarre theatrics they're known for, and stunning us all with the joy they seemed to have, out on tour singing tunes from their 30-year-old album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! It was glorious.
I'd told Kelly about the whole Devo marriage thing, and she jokingly told me during the show, "Your husband's held up well!" Hilariously, after Booji Boy tossed out bouncy balls during the encore song, Beautiful World, and I caught one (well, fished it off the floor), the guy standing behind me asked a non-sequitor, "Was that your wedding ring?"
Maybe it was. Maybe it was...
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Rosie is seven years old today! So much has happened in this year, 2008-2009. She finished Kindergarten, which was quite a struggle structurally for her, but she soared academically. She had her first summer break ever and spent it split up at sports camps (she almost knows how to swim!), with Grandma S, and at the Rehoboth beach house. She started First Grade with a new teacher and a new group of first and second graders in her multi-age class.
She made new friends at school, got over her fear of dogs at the bus stop, has gotten quite good at dressing herself for school in the morning, and just recently (please let this be a solid new skill!!) she's been cleaning up her room all by herself without being asked. I think her room is looking better than the rest of the house, actually.
Rosie is so sweet, as always, very affectionate, loving, and playful. She loves playdates with her friends, riding bikes, and her art, ballet, & tap classes. She is so creative! She's always drawing and painting and writing stories about her artwork. I'm so glad her new teacher is nurturing her creativity in the classroom.
Rosie has been setting new boundaries with her brother—while they've been happy to share most things and play very well together, she's recently establishing "her" territory and excluding him more than earlier. We knew this was bound to happen and are gently steering them to move in their own directions without hurting each other. She is a strong-willed girl, that child of mine and Monkeyrotica's.
Watching her grow into a maturing little girl is amazing and bittersweet at the same time. She still wants to cuddle in my arms, and I can see the baby she once was, but then she becomes so brightly independent and mature in her decision-making that I see the young woman that she'll become eventually. Not too soon.
Happy birthday, sweet Rosie!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
So, I already knew that Mrs. Clark's teaching style was "night and day" from Miss M's, I'd had absolutely no written notes come home, and in the couple of emails I'd sent through asking for info, I got just a sentence or two. Other parents who I like a great deal have told me that Mrs. Clark is awesome, is great with the kids, and has a very open atmosphere in the multi-age (1st & 2nd grade) classroom. Not sure whether the lack of info was a sign of a teacher who had too much on her hands to pay attention to Rosie or what, I was unsure what to expect.
Turns out, Mrs. Clark adores Rosie. She told me that Rosie is very high-functioning in reading and writing and has put her at a 2nd-Grade level. Rosie is a creative individual who solves challenges her own way and often wants to try a different route to a solution than the rest of her peers. She's a hard worker, an independent starter, always on task with some project or another, but may have difficulty transitioning to a new center if she's in the middle of some other work. Rosie doesn't have any specific friends in the class (other than Margaret), but is friendly with most. She doesn't care what the other kids think — if there's any bullying going on, she stays out of it. Mrs. Clark thinks these are all qualities that will serve her well later in life. She feels that Rosie has a mature attitude, is quite smart, and acts almost teenagerish some of the time (this was said positively).
She still might not finish her assignments on time, but Mrs. Clark isn't a stickler about this, as long as they come in soon enough. In the beginning weeks of school Rosie did a few strange things like hid behind the coat racks or lurked in the boys room without permission, but Mrs. Clark didn't call her out or make special notice for it. She just let Rosie know in a few words that it needed to stop and Rosie stopped. Rosie takes a lot of pride in her work and loves Mrs. Clark right back. 1st Grade has been great so far!
Next project up is a Pilgrim Project, to be completed at home, on any topic related to pilgrims, in any creative way Rosie wants.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Enjoy this dance, set to Mannheim Steamroller's Come Back to the Sea. The recital theme for 2009 was "Celebrations" and ours is celebrating a Day at the Beach. It has very fluid, lyrical choreography that requires grace and strength. In my class, there are actually six dancers, but I think you only see three on stage for the most part (due to framing), then flashes of others as the choreography plays out.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
I haven't been in the office since last Wednesday, because first I was caring for Dash, then I became contagious. I'm still not out of the woods, with a dramatic relapse today, most likely due to me getting cocky with how much better I was feeling this morning. I started off with my teleworking routine of getting a coffee and a bagel, which was delightful. Bagels usually fill me up, so I wasn't hungry for an especially long time. During that time, I got a bunch of work done, saw a doctor for the first time, who prescribed me an expectorant/cough suppressant with codeine. The bottle didn't say "don't take on an empty stomach" or any such thing, so I just dosed up and continued working. It did warn that it could make me dizzy and to not drive while on the meds.
So, around 2:30 p.m., I felt a bit light headed, and thought, gee, I ought to eat some lunch or drink something. I got up, walked a few feet, said "oh boy," to myself and then passed out on the couch. My improved health was wrecked with a relapse. But, I'm probably oversharing. I'll be teleworking and taking better care of myself for the rest of the week, I think. Missing meals when sick = bad.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Rosie's class was reading this adorably illustrated book a couple weeks ago and everyone couldn't help noticing how much she looked like Camilla. Her teacher even started calling her Camilla in class and told us that Rosie had "celebrity status." On top of all that one of the very few vegetables that super-picky Rosie eats is lima beans.
For Halloween, Rosie told me that she wanted to be some sort of princess, but I sort of blew that off and told her I'd make her a Camilla Cream costume. Last night, I made her a pink ribbon hair clip, cut the legs off of her 2nd pair of striped tights and sewed them onto a sleeveless white tank, and all that's left to do for Halloween is the face paint!!
I love this costume. Here's hoping that Rosie realizes just how much more awesome it is than any old boring princess.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
And loves that Grandma S is always thinking of things to do with her!
(Especially taking her to the pool, hint, hint.) :-)
I think that Grandma & Rosie are at the pool, swimming, in the thought-bubble. Don't you love your sparkly silver hair, Mom?
Saturday, October 17, 2009
During an internet search, I found the Medical Reserve Corps. They were traveling to communities and giving presentations on preparedness and I thought this would be great for my neighborhood association! Or at the very least, maybe somebody else would listen to their messag and share my urgency. They gave a very polished presentation, complete with a well-produced video, which stuck with me. The presenter suggested that I volunteer for the MRC, but I demurred. I had two young, very demanding children at home, and didn't think I could easily pull away.
Fast forward to two months ago, the swine flu has been identified as a pandemic and they were anticipating that a vaccine would be ready later in the season, and I remembered the MRC. They needed volunteers! I signed up online and received an activation notice just last week. I attended an orientation a few days ago and am currently sitting in the preparation session to help with distributing vaccines next weekend on October 24th.
They notified me that my role on the 24th is "administrative assistant" since I have no medical training. I'll be helping with whatever non-medical tasks that need doing, like traffic flow, checking people in, helping with forms, or helping people find the exit when they're done. Of the 1.2 MILLION residents, they're hoping to treat 50,000 of the 220,000 school-aged residents this coming weekend. With this goal, MRC is about 4,000 volunteers short.
The distribution centers are going to be at middle schools with school-age children as the target population. Do go and get your vaccination! Volunteer if you can. It's going to be tough, crazy, and lots of work. Wish me luck!
Friday, October 16, 2009
We sat down to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark because Dash wanted to see Indy shoot some Nazis. In the first few scenes, I hear:
"That's Indiana Jones! He also played Han Solo in Star Wars and Mr. Deckert in Blade Runner."
And, "that guy is going to double-cross Indy! He also played Doctor Octopus in Spiderman II."
"Hey, there's Indy's friend Sala! He also played Gimli in Lord of the Rings and did Treebeard's voice."
It's like this ALL THE TIME, for every movie with big actors. Why not? It gives the kids a better idea that acting's a job and this is all pretend. It takes the edge off the fantasy a bit, but not a big deal. Like Harrison Ford likes to quote, he's just an "assistant storyteller." And a good one he is.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
On Thursday at dinner, Rosie was barely eating—her front tooth was wiggling. She couldn't stop moving it around, utterly distracted. Friday morning, she found me in the shower, tooth in hand. It fell out!
This morning, around 6:30 am, she came into our our bedroom, disappointed that the tooth fairy didn't leave money. I got up and ran an errand. Rosie had been sleeping in Dash's room, so thinking quickly, I suggested to her that the tooth fairy might have been confused and left the tooth money in her bedroom.
Her eyes lit up. "Oh, I hadn't thought of that!" and, "Hey! There's money on my bed!" She's been considering all morning how she'll spend it.
UPDATE: She spent her $5 on her brother! What a sweetheart.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Here is an excerpt from a performance of hers earlier this year. They must have decided to tone down the "country" for the DC audience, because we didn't hear this comedic segment or her covers of these "terrible, uncomfortable," hilarious country tunes. Brandi is incredibly talented, and just so freaking cute! Take a look:
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
The Washington City Paper sponsors the Crafty Bastards(sm) Arts & Crafts Fair, an exhibition and sale of handmade alternative arts and crafts from independent artists. The fair is all-day, outdoors, free to attend, and offers goods for sale, food, entertainment, prizes, and more! I think there must have been thousands of people there on Saturday.
I chickened out of applying to be a vendor (more excuses) this year, but wanted to participate in some way, so I volunteered. For the early shift. I got up on Saturday at 3:45 a.m. (yes the morning after the events of my previous post), dressed comfortably and with an extra layer, and drove to Adams Morgan to arrive exactly at 5 a.m. Heather McAdams, the volunteer coordinator, was very organized and set all of us hapless, sleep-deprived volunteers up with a buddy and directly to work. I was on "vendor support" and spent the next three hours hauling & setting up large tables around the Marie Reed Learning Center's basketball courts. When we finished with the tables, we hauled and set up tents. Did I mention that there were 147 vendors?
When the vendors started arriving around 8, I helped them haul their stuff, and set up more tables & tents. I was a bit of a tent expert by then! The very last tricky thing my volunteer crew and I did was move a booth that was already set up with delicate ceramics to another location at the event. I think everything went very smoothly and all the vendors were very gracious. Heather sent us a few thank you notes from the vendors, which was just so nice of her! Here is an excerpt:
"[Crafty Bastards] was so thoroughly well thought-out and advertised—a true testament to the hard work of the volunteers and staff. The sheer volume of people in attendance blew my mind and the fact that it seemed to go off without a hitch was equally impressive, I can only imagine how much organization and planning it takes to do something like this and I just wanted to let you know that, as a vendor, I am thankful for all the hard work. Congratulations to the whole crew!"
I spent about an hour after the event shopping at the vendor's booths, as everything was so attractive, colorful and wonderful, it was hard to resist. I made purchases at My Paper Crane (my happy kids are pictured with Heidi Kenney's plush donut and acorn), The Candy Thief, Tina Seamonster, Bossa Nova Baby, This Chickadee, and Maryink.
But, oh. my. god. I was so fracking sore and exhausted. At around 3:30 pm, once all the kids' activities were over, I totally crashed and had a nap. I even needed to slather salve all over my lower back and shoulders before bed. It was totally worth it. I am so very psyched to get more involved next year! I would volunteer again, but hear my vow: I won't chicken out of applying next year!
Sunday, October 04, 2009
4:50 a.m. “You Call 911.”
Monkeyrotica (whom I’ll call Joe for the rest of this post) woke me up, suddenly, with urgency.
“Rosie’s gone,” he said.
Still mostly asleep, I didn’t respond.
“She’s not in her bed, she’s not in the house. Help me look for her.”
Blearily, I responded, “She’s probably hiding somewhere. You know, in the closet or under the bed. I’ll check in her usual spots.” I got out of bed, now a little worried.
“No. The front door was open,” Joe told me. “We always latch it before bed, why would it be open?” He was freaked. I started to get cold all over with a lump in my stomach.
I looked in her room, in her bed. Dash was still sleeping on his side of the double bed, but on her side, there was no Rosie. Instead, there was one of her blankets loosely covering several small pillows, arranged to look like a prone body in bed. This scene convinced me that her leave-taking was premeditated, that she was not abducted. My rising anxiety came down a notch. Several high-profile childnapping cases have made the news, and while I’m certain abductions are rare, they do happen and they make good money for the news media, working on the emotions of parents who can’t stop reading the dramatic, terrifying stories. One of a parent’s worst fears is to lose a child. I was terrified.
Joe grabbed a flashlight and went outside to search around the house, calling her name in case she was hiding in the bushes or playing with toys in the backyard. I did the same, inside, looking in closets, the basement, bathtub, under beds. She sometimes hides on us, well past it being a fun game, so I hoped she was just playing an overused trick on us. Dash was awake, so I asked him, “Did Rosie tell you that she was going somewhere, sweetie?” “No,” he answered, rubbing sleep out of his eyes. Joe came back inside.
“I’m going to take the car and drive around the neighborhood. You call 911,“ he directed, then walked outside.
5:07 a.m. “What Was Your Daughter Wearing?”
“What is the nature of your emergency?” the 911 dispatcher asked.
“My daughter isn’t in the house,” I answered, shakily.
“How old is your daughter?”
Under her breath, it sounded like the dispatcher muttered, “That’s wrong.” In a normal tone, she continued, asking for our address, her full name, and other details. She asked, “Is there any reason your daughter left the house? Does she sleepwalk?”
“She has, but she’s never gone out the door before. She’s never gone out the door by herself without asking even during the day. She doesn’t do this.”
“Has she said anything to you about wanting to leave?”
I thought for a moment. “She’s been asking for a lot of playdates and sleepovers lately. I’ve been working late and haven’t been able to schedule them very often.”
When she asked me, “What was your daughter wearing?” I choked up.
“Uh, I… I don’t remember! She dressed herself. I dressed my son, and I… don’t have any idea what she wore to bed.” Long pause.
“Do you know what shoes she is wearing?”
“Can you look around and see if there are any of her shoes missing?” After I fitfully stomped around the house, accounting for shoes, I discovered that one pair was not around.
“Her pink mary-janes aren’t here. They have a Velcro strap.” The dispatcher made notes.
“Is there a creek nearby?”
“Yes, at the end of our street.”
“Does she know how to swim?”
“No! (I cringed inside) But the creek is only a few inches deep, just runoff.”
“Officers are on their way to your house. They should be there shortly.” We ended the call.
I found Dash lying in his own bed, awake and told him, “Dash, Rosie’s not in the house and Mommy and Daddy are very scared. Do you know where she is?”
I went to the open front door and looked out onto the dark street. It was about 50 degrees that morning. What was she wearing? What was she THINKING? Where would she go? I thought about what I told the 911 dispatcher about playdates and sleepovers and the friends Rosie had named. Fiona was the closest friend, just a block and a half away. My cell phone was still in my hand; I phoned her house. While the call was connecting, two police cars were on my street, headed for my home.
5:13 a.m. “That’s Her in the Orange!”
Brian, Fiona’s dad, picked up at the second ring. “Hello?”
“This is Nylon, Rosie’s mom. I’m sorry to bother you so early…”
“She’s here,” he cut me off. “Kathy just put her in the car.”
“Oh my god. Thank you!!” I took a deep breath. My brain reeled with all the things I wanted to say; what came out was, “What the hell?!?” and, “The police are here—thank you so much.” I hung up and looked outside.
There were two police cars parked in front of my house and three policemen were walking through my yard. At the same time, Joe was parking at the top of our driveway and Kathy was pulling her minivan in behind him. The light was on inside her car and I could make out a small figure in the backseat, wearing an unfamiliar orange hoodie. The policeman was close enough to address, so I announced, “That’s her! My neighbor brought her home!”
Following my gaze, he said, “Your daughter? That’s her in the orange?”
Rosie got out of Kathy’s car and I could see that she had on a long, bright orange, terrycloth beach coverall that I bought her for swim camp. I never would have guessed that was what she would have put on to go outside. She ran into the house, past me, straight to her room, slamming her door. The policemen conferred; two of them stayed, the rest left. “We almost had the search helicopters in the air,” Officer Cook told me. “I’d like to talk to Rosie.”
While I went to get Rosie, Dash was doing what any four-year-old boy would do with big, uniformed men with weapons in his house would do: he was showing them his toys. “Look! I have a big duck!!” I heard him say. Joe tried to talk me out of getting Rosie; he was so worked up, he was afraid to explode at her in front of everyone. Rosie was on her bed in the dark. I told her she scared all of us especially her daddy. She needed to come out right now, apologize to Joe, me, and the policemen. I had to practically drag her out of her room, down the hall as she dug in her heels, grabbed door jambs, trying to stay out of sight. She kept her head down and locked her arms around me as we entered the living room. I sat in a chair and she sat in my lap, still tucked up, trying to stay small. I hugged her to me and she grabbed my arms, looping her hand around them, adjusting them. I realized she was trying to hide behind my arms, from the policemen, from everyone.
The policemen talked to her, asking her to calm down, telling her not to be afraid. Officer Cook explained to her how unsafe her actions were, how scared she made everyone. She made short, quiet responses, unwilling to talk. I was torn between wanting to yell at her myself and wanting to hold her forever.
What in Hell Was She Thinking?
Joe left for work, the police took more information and left. Everyone was up and it wasn’t even 6 a.m. I wanted to take a shower, but what if Rosie walked out the door while I was showering? How was I going to keep her from leaving? Wait, that’s illogical, but my world was off-kilter. My trust in my daughter’s good sense was shaken. Somehow I got through the morning, got to work.
Later that morning, I called Fiona’s parents to learn their side of the story. This is what Kathy told me. Kathy and Brian are early risers, getting up before 5 a.m. to talk before they start their days. They were in their kitchen having coffee together when they heard a tapping on their back door; Brian peered out the window but didn’t see anything. Then their front doorbell rang. Brian was shocked that Rosie was at the door. Kathy told me that Rosie was completely calm and asked, “Can Fiona have a playdate with me?” Rosie only started to seem shaken when Fiona’s parents’ anxiety showed. They asked, “Do your parents know you’re here?” “No,” she told them.
Kathy had a talk with Fiona after she woke up and learned that the two girls had made plans for this. Rosie was going to come over after dark so she and Fiona could have a secret sleepover. Neither of the girls had thought through any other details. Kathy asked, was Rosie going to tell her mother? No, because her mommy would say no.
Got that right.
I had to leave work. I couldn’t think, couldn’t be productive. I was just phoning friends, other parents to see if they had insights for me. Pretty much everyone was shocked that Rosie did something like this at six! Isn’t this more of a teenager thing? Where did she get the idea for the pillows? (I’m guessing it was from a scene in The Iron Giant). How would I keep her from doing it again? I visited my friend Staci, who has a psych background and she helped me guess that Rosie was seeking independence and suggested I call the school counselor.
While the school counselor had no experience dealing with this particular activity in any grade school children under her charge, she had ideas. Before yelling and setting punishment, talk what happened through with Rosie. Find out what motivated her. Was she scared or excited? Whatever logic drove her to make the conclusions might surprise me. Rosie’s an artist, she said. Ask her to draw a story about her experience. That might help you all understand what was going on in her head.
All that I’ve gotten out of Rosie was that she “wanted to go for a walk” and that she “wanted a playdate with Fiona.” We are considering all of this carefully and are trying not to go overboard. So far, her punishment is that she can’t have any playdates for a week. She knows what she did was wrong, since she deceived us when she snuck out to see her friend. Having the police come to our house and seeing everyone so upset must have shaken her up. I hope to g0d anyway.
Does anyone have any similar experience or advice? Please leave it in the comments.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
I telework on Thursdays. With this school year's 30-minutes difference in the bus schedule, I have time to take Rosie to her bus stop. We still leave at the same time, because there's ridiculous traffic if we linger. So, on the way back to the neighborhood, I have time to get a decent, properly made coffee.
Today Rosie said, "No coffee for you, Mommy!"
And I was all, "Huh? why not?"
Rosie replied, "I don't like you bringing your coffee to the bus stop."
I said, "Okay, I'll leave it in the car."
"No, none for you! No coffee at all."
"How about if there's a cookie in it for you?"
As we entered the cafe, there were two customers leaving. While I made my coffee order (french roast), I noticed that the barrista looked depressed. We were the only customers in the cafe, so she was talking loudly with her coworker.
Barrista1: "This was an absolutely PERFECT latte! Just look at it."
Barrista2: "We were out of vanilla syrup. She wanted vanilla syrup."
Barrista1: "But I think it's the best I've ever made! It's beautiful."
Me, chiming in amiably: "A work of art."
Barrista1: "Exactly! I can't stand to let it go to waste..." (looking meaningfully at me.)
Me: "I like latte...and the foam on that one is really superbly done."
Barrista1: "You can have it for free. You'd be doing me a favor to drink it."
Me: "Sounds great!"
Rosie and I left the cafe, me with two coffees (one of them an exquisitely made, specialty coffee), and her with a very small, fresh, delicious chocolate cookie.
We were both starting the day off well.
Monday, September 28, 2009
found this guy hiding in a cabinet. He was in a common kitchen area in
my office, behind some plastic utensils; only now he's my Bughouse (or
whatever I call it) avatar.
Just putting this down in a place that's not only somewhere I'll look at later but is public (& therefore holds me accountable), my blog.
I had a dream/vision last night that I was at a craft fair selling my work (jewelry & plush) with a line that was entirely insect-based. The banner I had was labeled "The Bughouse" (a dream-reference to HAJ's private blog?). I specific item I held in my hands was a black/gold bee necklace strung on black ribbon with gold threads running through it. This looked nothing like anything I've ever made.
I've been considering little pieces of this, but my dream had it on a much larger scale. I'm planning to pursue this—does Heather mind if I use that shop name? I'm sure I can come up with another, but it fits well!
A recent book purchase, "Creative Time and Space: Making Room for Making Art " just came in the mail on Saturday and I started reading it—one of the earlier tips on trying to find time for your art in the book is that when you are considering ideas throughout your day, epiphanies may come in your dreams.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Staci is a certified instructor for Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) and that's her son Donovan swimming in her teaching pool! According to ISR's website,
"...a truly comprehensive infant swimming education and self-rescue skill instruction method that is well established in the fields of health care, psychology/behavioral sciences, anatomy and physiology. Since 1966, ISR has safely delivered over 7 million lessons to teach water self-rescue skills to more than 177,224 babies and has educated parents and medical experts nationwide on water safety techniques and proven instruction methods. To date, ISR has 788 documented cases of children using ISR techniques to save themselves from drowning. Please remember that there is no substitute for adult supervision.
She helps babies learn basic swim skills to keep themselves from drowning. I love her.
Staci's daughter, Margaret, is Rosie's BFF at school, and when Dash & Donovan, (Staci's son) both start Kindergarten next year they might be classmates as well. Whenever we had a break this past summer, I'd take the kids over to play with Margaret & Donovan and no matter what, we'd all end up in the pool. Rosie is still not much of a swimmer and neither is Dash, but with Staci's help, they ought to be soon enough.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Location? "Oh, off 14th, near some letter streets, but not in Dupont Circle."
Type of bar? "All ages, and really scuzzy."
Music? "It was supposed to be an 80s music dance night, but it was awful alternative stuff, nothing I recognized at all. I think of Journey when I think of 80s, you know?"
People? "It was full of all the worst, ugly, nerdy losers that never got picked in gym class! They actually called out a guy who'd been coming there every night for eight years and was celebrating his birthday that night. Who goes to the same bar every night? What a LOSER!"
It dawned on me: she was talking about my favorite, scuzzy, dance venue, all-ages bar off of 14th Street. Black Cat. I know most of the bartenders there by name and used to be a regular when we lived a few blocks from it.
I just celebrated my birthday there.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
My apologies to Neil Patrick Harris.
Dash wants to be a superhero scientist for Halloween, like the science-lab guys who fight monsters on Inframan. Will Dr. Horrible be acceptable? Maybe!
Monkeyrotica suggests Buckaroo Banzai (but that's not much of a costume, eh? put a skinny tie and parachute pants on and yr done.), and other players might be Dr. Two-Brains or any other evil science mastermind. Who do you recommend?
Monday, September 14, 2009
Rosie just finished her first week of First Grade and I think this year will ROCK!! Her kindergarten year was a roller coaster of getting called out for behavior issues. With her new teacher, though, I think things will run more smoothly in 1st. Mrs. C already told us that her teaching style is a polar opposite from Miss M, and even her classroom is set up in a more relaxed, creative way. There's a relaxation area with couches and activity areas set up with much more opportunity for collaborations between classmates. They already have art projects up on the walls and Rosie is excited about math problems (Yay!).
Thursday was my first modern dance class of the season, and there are a few new dancers enrolled. Four new teenagers signed up, while three of the dancers from last year have moved on. I resolve this year to keep better track of the choreography. I am very guilty of going to class, dancing my heart out, leaving, and then not thinking about it until the following week. By the time next Thursday comes around, I am banging my head against the wall, trying to recall dance steps. This time, I actually wrote them down before bed the same night. Starting off well!
Friday evening, M. Monkey, the kids and I went to see our dear friends Lauren & David at his art show opening. David's artwork is phenomenal——at first glance, beautifully crafted and attractive, but once the purposes of the wearable art sink in, an energizing sensation of discomfort and desire to participate sink in (I don't have claustrophobia and am comfortable in small spaces, so I'm always intrigued). Someday, I will wear one of his pieces; there has always been a line at the shows when he was allowing volunteers. It was lovely to see them and we all kissed, hugged, and promised to not let so much time pass between our visits. We have known them for over 12 years, but have not seen them as much while our children have been in the larval stage. Now that Rosie and Dash are more interesting little people (and we have reliable babysitters), I foresee renewing our friendship.
Saturday, we spent most of the day at Six Flags amusement park for my company's annual picnic. Despite arriving at 10:30 a.m. and leaving at 2 p.m., I only rode on two rides? Rosie and Dash both rode on five, and Monkeyrotica only rode one, I think. Maybe when they are older, they can run free and Monkey and I will be able to ride together once again. As it is, we spent all of our time in the kiddie "Looney Tunes" section. We went with our friends Bill & Beth, who we have also known for ages (since HS for Monkey, and sixteen years for me). We all enjoyed the lovely weather (overcast and cool is perfect for an outdoor activity!) and talked about how we needed to do more together as well. Common topic? Beth mentioned that after many friends and family have had kids, they stopped thinking of inviting them along for parties and outings, even though they like kids. We'll do better, I swear. It's so easy to make plans for friends with kids so that the wee ones can entertain each other, without realizing that other pals are being left out. We parted after a long day of it and by the time I got home, I passed out from the exhaustion of marching around, keeping track of everyone all day.
Two playdates for Sunday! Rosie and Dash wanted to see THEIR friends on Sunday, so we had back-to-back playdates with Ava and Brian (matched ages) in the morning, and Fiona in the afternoon. With Fiona over at our house, all the children were so well-occupied, that I was able to clean the house without being pulled away to fix this, play this game with me, show me how to use the computer, etc.
I hope to see you more often as well. There's a lot that I put aside this summer and I want to pick it all up again.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
The waitress sat down with us as I described an elaborate "burger" for
Rosie that we'll dismantle as soon as it arrives. It's grilled
chicken, with bacon, carrots, and black olives on an English muffin.
She looks happy now, but she typically eats all of these things
separately. We'll see how it goes when they arrive and it's all
assembled and warm!! Eep.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I found this gorgeous, large, and unfortunately very dead moth outside my front door yesterday. Anyone know what sort of moth it is? It's a really beautiful light green with a fluffy white body and brown-yellow accent colors. I especially love the feathery antennae. Its wingspan might be about 5-6 inches across.
UPDATE (from Little Max): It's a Luna Moth! Wikipedia says the adult stage of the Actias luna lasts only 7 days and they emerge from the pupa solely to mate (adults have no mouth—all their eating was done as a caterpillar).
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What a strange world we share; imagine suddenly being a fantastically beautiful winged creature with one goal in your short life: finding a sex partner to fertilize eggs (then lay the eggs and die)? Anyone have a short story for this plot?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
What an eye for detail! Her spelling is just the icing on the cake. Six and a half is a fun age.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
And it's pretty obvious that Dash loves her right back, isn't it? This compilation is from another popular subject in Rosie's camera captures, her little brother. Admittedly, the image in the center is one that I took, but the rest are all hers.
The other subject that she seems to take a lot of photos of? Images that will never see the light of day and are getting trashed immediately off the harddrive? Her cr0t¢h. I guess her lap is right there, y'know. And sometimes the p@nt!es just need a little airing, in her eyes. Nope, nothing to see here.
I'll get some photos of the actual beach and sand up soon, for real. These were just hilarious and sweet to me.
At the beach house this year, Monkeyrotica's HS buddy Alan decided to join us. He's a public school teacher in Baltimore and my kids just adore him. Rosie practically hangs on him and is constantly in his face—I caught her draped across his chest while he was trying (unsuccessfully!) to take a nap. We gave Rosie a camera to document our beach trip her own way, and this image is a compilation of what I found on the memory card.
To his credit, Alan has been great playing with them. Four and six-and-a-half year-olds are exhausting.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Just like previous years, Rosie and Dash wanted a ride on the coin-op pony.
Only this year, a crazy, freak storm broke out right after their ride. The sky went black, lightning flashed, and thunder boomed. Once the wind started kicking up the sand into our eyes and a funnel was visible on the horizon, we started running for our lives!
Dash tripped, and I wasn't able to stop in time. I trod on his arm (lightly, I hope—due to my dance training). All's well, we got to the beach house immediately before the skies opened up & Dash only has a small bruise today.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
I just finished sewing this sundress for Rosie so she could wear it on our beach trip (& soon we'll be running out of Summer, so, no procrastinating). I used fracking rick rack and the works, man!!
The pattern and (so-cute pink Japanese-circles) fabric were purchased at Hancock fabrics. Sizing ended at 8 and Rosie's wearing 7 now, so I just cut it out for 8 in case she might get some wear out of it next year.
If she's outgrown it by then, here's looking at you, Hey, Ho, Kellygo's Thea!!
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Dash just finished the summer session at our dance studio and the teacher let parents look in at the end of their last class. Right here, they are all doing "tendus" at the barre. He really seemed to be proud of himself. Isn't he the cutest?