Monday, May 23, 2011

All of Her

A couple of weeks ago I sat down with Hadley's preschool teacher for a parent teacher conference.  At the risk of sounding like an obnoxiously prideful parent, Hadley's doing awesome. 

She loves school, loves her classmates, has gone beyond meeting all the benchmarks, etc, etc.  The teacher says to me, "It's easy to see why she's so successful.  You're so literary, and I'm sure that rubs off on her."  Please.  This has nothing to do with me.  This kind of smart is all Jesse.  You see, Jesse and Hadley are what I like to call "quick smart."  There is nothing quick about me unless it involves running from a wasp or dog.  But Hadley and Jesse process things quickly, and once they have, they move on.  1+1?  2. Done.  Moving on.  Hurricanes?  They're bad.  Take cover.  Moving on.

Hadley is also very literal, and this makes it hard for her to understand why one needs or would want to use one's imagination.  Take today for example.  Hadley was playing with paper doll princesses.  These princesses were all trying to get to a ball of some sort and Hadley wanted to help them get there.  She told me her dilemma and I said, "Why don't you ask Tinkerbell if she can help?"  So Hadley walks over to find Tinkerbell and here's what happened (keep in mind this is all Hadley talking):

Hadley: Tinkerbell?  Will you help Cinderella, Bella, and Snow White get to the ball?

Tinkerbell: What?

Hadley: We need your help.  Cinderella, Bella, and Snow White need pixie dust to get to the ball.  Do you have pixie dust?

Tinkerbell: Yea, I have pixie dust.

Hadley: OK, can you share some with the princesses so they can get to the ball?

Tinkerbell: Well, I'd love to but I can't.

Hadley: Why not?

Tinkerbell: Because I live in a different story.

And that was the end of that.
Hadley also likes to know why things are the way they are.  This is also from Jesse.  Yesterday the two of them were discussing the different kinds of ladybugs: what they eat, what color their spots are, and why they can't live very long in buildings (we had one in our building that clearly wasn't going anywhere if you know what I mean).  Hadley's need to understand the way things work clashes with my need for her to JUST DO WHAT I SAY on a daily basis.  She wants to know why I want her to not do something and I want her to just stop doing what she's doing.  It makes it so that I feel like I'm in the middle of a "Who's on First" kind of conversation.

Here's what happened today:

Hadley (who's in the bathroom): Mom!!!!!!  I'm doooooonnnne!

I walk into the bathroom to find Hadley facing the opposite direction that society expects one to sit when one sits on a toilet.

Me: OH, HADLEY!  What are you doing?

Hadley: I'm sitting this way.

Me: WHY?!?!?!

Hadley: Why not?

Me: Hadley, you can never, ever sit like that.

Hadley: Why? What will happen?

Me (after a long pause): I don't know.  Just don't ever sit like that again.

It's a wonder I haven't been on any talk shows to share my outstanding parenting skills, folks.

You know what though?  I do so enjoy Hadley's company.  From the moment she was born, she's shown me that there is this other way to see the world, and while I struggle to keep up with her, I'm thankful she wants me to come along for the ride.  The other day when I picked her up from preschool she told me that one of the teachers who put her in the car called her "Holly." 

I said, "That's OK, people used to call me by the wrong name all the time." 

"They did that when you were a little girl?"


"I should've been there to help you."

That would've been nice, Hadley.  That would've been nice.

Friday, May 20, 2011

At the Park

Last week at this time you didn't hear me saying, "Geez! The sun's been out for DAYS!  When is it going to rain again?"  And here I am on what feels like the 2,345th day of rain, grumbling about where the sun went.  So since it's raining again today I will post some pictures of a day when the sun was shining and we went to a new park and enjoyed warm shoulders and the smell of Coppertone on our skin.

We met up with other kids that the girls love to play with.

Trying to hang with the big kids....
She did it!

We were at the park all morning last week, playing with the kids and talking to other moms.  It was a nice morning.  We all go to the same church, but it's nice to see these people during the week because I don't get a chance to talk to them on Sundays.  I'm sure I've said this before, but I'm a huge fan of letting my kids run the crazies out while I can talk to adults.  It's always a win-win.  This morning was an example of that.

My favorite part of the day, though, was when Harper and Hadley followed each other over to a part of the park where nobody was and began playing together.  I don't think it was because they weren't having fun with the other kids, or that they chose to only be together.  I like to think that while they love the company of good friends, it's each other they're most comfortable with.

I'm glad they like hanging out with each other.  I hope it's always that way.  I hope that they find joy in the rainy days, too.  Because there's always markers and puzzles to play with, but it's way more fun to do these things together.

Harper's asking Hadley to draw Captain Hook, Mr. Smee (is that his name?) and Co.  Hadley obliges.

Harper is working on a city. 

Maybe the sun will stay out today.  Either way, I think we'll come up with something to do.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Letter to the Wasps - The Insect, Not The Presbyterians

Dear Wasps,

It's been 5 years since you've stayed in our home and I have had enough.  I'm not a reasonable person, especially when it comes to you.  You scare me.  What's more, I think you know you scare me.  I think you guys hideout wherever you are in our home and drink cheap honey until I'm all alone.  You wait until I sit down next to a draft of an essay or a post I want to work on while the girls are asleep.  You'll snicker at me because I get distracted by Hadley's doodles on my essay, or Harper's blue scribbles over a sentence I have been struggling with.  You'll watch with glee as I try and shake the lump that seems to be left in my stomach and chest when my girls aren't clunking toys on the ground, or pitter pattering their feet on the floor.  And just when I'm starting to get used to the empty silence that's filled our home you thump against my window.  You follow it up with a "buzz" which I believe is you laughing even though you know you're going to die.  I think you figure if you're going to get smooshed, you may as well have it done by a crazy lady who is half shrieking, half gasping for breath dancing around the living room swearing while she looks for a shoe to kill you with. 

I'll be darned if you teach me some kind of lesson, though.  Usually just one of you shows up in the afternoons, but that Monday when two of you showed up and one of you was flying; that just about did me in.  I appreciate that you're at least hanging out on our windows so it makes it easy for me to end you.  But flying?  C'mon guys. 

So when I left the house the following day to drop Hadley off at school, I decided I wasn't going back until Jesse came home.  It sounds drastic, I know.  But like I said, I'm not a reasonable person.  I'm also melodramatic.  However, I wasn't expecting to learn some kind of lesson.  I just wanted a break from having the creepies in my house.

Here's what happened, though.  Harper and I spent the morning walking around the Washingtonian Center.

 We went to the park.  We had lunch at the Corner Bakery and drew pictures while we waited for our food.

(I didn't draw that girl holding the flower.)
(I did, however, draw this:)

And while Harper slept in the car, I drove around our neighborhood exploring streets I hadn't noticed before.

Look, wasps, I like my house.  I like how we have it set up.  I like what goes on in it.  I like that despite the fact I sometimes feel inadequate because we don't have a yard for the girls to play in, or that they have to share a bedroom, that they are happy. But I wasn't expecting to dwell on this as I drove around our 'burb eating a raspberry tart and sipping a coffee, and I certainly wasn't expecting to realize that not only do I like our home, but that after four and a half years of being a mother, I am beginning to feel comfortable with my surroundings.  I'm sorry it took wild beasts to show me that. 

I'm also sorry I had to call maintenance and tell them to come and take care of you once and for all. I know you thought they'd never find you, because for almost 5 years they haven't.  But I've been watching, and I narrowed it down, you sneaky sneakersons.  Sure enough, after two hours of looking around and trying to convince me that there were no wasps in my home, maintenance found your nest in our fireplace. 

Don't mess with me, wasps.  I know I come across as meek, or shy or whatever.  I know I cry easily.  And I'm still terrified of you.  It took me almost three weeks to write this post because every time I sit down to finish it I think I can see one of you crawling nearby.  What I'm saying is that it might take me awhile to figure things out, but I'll do it.  And in the end, I usually get my way.



PS - We are always watching.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

You Have to Suffer for Beauty

Last week I took Harper to get her haircut.  This is not an easy task.  Where Hadley might be hesitant about the whole experience, Harper is flat out beligerent.  I'm talking screaming, hitting the lady who is supposed to cut her hair, arching her back so that you can't put her in the chair, and the list goes on.  I tried to take the girls when I think no other kids will be there so it's not horrifying for innocent bystanders.  And then I just stopped going at all because I don't think you can pay someone enough for trying to do a service when the customer is acting like someone on Jerry Springer.

But last week is was time so I told Harper when she woke up that after we dropped Hadley off at school, we were going to take her to get her haircut.  She was all for it until we walked into the shop and then the moaning and complaining started.  I started to get the sweats and began wondering what I could use to sedate my daughter, and that's when the miracle happened.

First, the lady who cut her hair gave her a BLUE smock to put on.  Blue is for Harper what that first cup of coffee is for me.  Then, the lady asked Harper if she wanted a lollipop while she cut her hair.

"Yea, a BLUE lollipop."  Harper demands. That's my girl.  She's just going to go ahead and let people know what she wants at all times.

I found the LAST BLUE lollipop in the treat basket.

Finally, the lady asked Harper what TV show she liked to watch and Harper said, "I like to watch Diego and the Dinosaurs." We have the book and we have to read it every single night.  It's one of the first things Harper asks for when she wakes up in the morning. She reads is all day long.  We recently got the DVD so now the story really comes alive.

"I think we have that one." the lady says and seconds later we hear the theme song and see Diego swinging on a rope with Baby Jaguar by his side.

No tantrums, Harps.  You want for nothing.

Note the toy in her left hand. It's BLUE.  (And I guess the smock isn't technically blue, but it worked for Harper.)

Look at that face.  Does she know how to work the camera or what?

Monday, May 9, 2011

All Kinds of Awesome

Sunday morning I woke up to this:

Yellow streamers (because that's my favorite color) decorated the playroom with lots of presents on the table.

And one very proud kiddo. 

It was a nice surprise, but I should've known better to think that this is where it would end.  I got pancakes and bacon for breakfast, and then, as we were cleaning up for afterwords, Jesse says, "Well, we can go to church or take a trip to Harper's Ferry." 

We didn't make it to church yesterday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Egg Roll 2011

I'm a week late in writing about our trip to the White House for the Easter Egg Roll, but I have a lot on my plate right now.  There's all this ice-cream in our freezer and somebody thought it'd be a good idea to buy the largest tub of rainbow sprinkles to go with it. It takes time to create the perfect ice-cream sprinkle sundae, and then eat it.  Plus, I have the huge stress of choosing which flip flops I will wear each day.  I can't just be thinking about entering the White House lawn to this:

Oh, wait.  Yes, I can.  Did you catch the cheerleaders?  No?  That's OK because I did:
 We were just outside of the lawn when we heard these guys start to play.  One year when I was in high school the administration decided to play music through the intercom system during passing periods.  It would play for 4 minutes and then it'd shut off so everyone knew we had 1 minute to get to class.  In my opinion, this was the coolest thing the administration ever did (except for maybe allowing us to chew gum in class).  The problem was, everyone was dancing and singing in the hallways for the duration of the passing period, and then when you heard it shut off, we all ran like mad men to try and get to class.  There was also a lot of swearing. (Not from me, Mom and Dad.  I never swear.  Except for that one time I said "butt" in first grade.  I've been on the straight and narrow ever since.)

The morning we walked onto the White House's front lawn, I was reminded of an afternoon when the school was playing "Everyday People" by Arrested Development.  I was in a huge crowd, and I believe every single person was singing that song, dancing, and walking in time to it.  It's one of my favorite memories of high school.  Walking into the Egg Roll Monday morning was a lot like that.  There were parents holding hands with their kids, marching along to the beat.  We were nodding our heads and shaking our hips.  Some of us had our hands in the air.  Some of us were told to cut it out by their four year old daughters. It's all good, we need people like Hadley because she's going to BE the administration one day.  And Harper?  Well, I think Harper will be spending lots of time in the principal's office.

Here they are after they pulled me away from the band.

And then this egg came up to us and asked if we wanted to take a picture with it.

We also stalked some creature we thought was Cookie Monster, but turns out it wasn't.  I hate when that happens.

Hadley's all, "C'mon Harper!  Get in here!"  Harper's like, "Uhhhhh, I don't think so, Hadwee.  You go on and enjoy whatever that is.  I'm staying back here."

Although, Harper lost her mind when we saw these guys:

Here is what Hadley looked like when she first saw Elmo:
Whatever, dude.


I'd like to contribute that seeing Maria was a lot of fun.  She was a buddy of  mine along with all the Sesame Street gang growing up, and I was equally thankful for her contribution to keeping Hadley entertained while I was in my first trimester with Harper. 

I'd also like to say that Elmo is hilarious live.  On TV?  Not so much.  But he was a riot that morning.

Awww, group shot.

After story time with Elmo and Maria, it was time to do a little yoga.  Hadley LOVED this. 

Harper was a little more suspicious, but she joined in, too.

George Washington got into it, too.

A quick stop to say "Hey!" to ol' CB:

And then it was off to the Egg Hunt. 

When Harper heard we were going to the White House she said, "Awwww!  I don't want to go to the White House again!"  What two year old has the opportunity to say that?  Hadley calmed her down and told her this: "Harper, Bock Obama lives there!  He's the Present!  And you get to put all your stuff on a table and somebody looks at it and then gives it back!"  Come on, Harper.  What could be more fun then going to Present Bock Obama's house, and walking through security?  This is the stuff memories are made of!