5/31/10

A typical twenty minutes with my older daughter

Mallory: What movie did you and Daddy watch last night?

Me: An Education.

Mallory: What was it about?

Me: It was about a girl who falls in love with a bad man.

Mallory: Why was he bad?

Me: He stole things, and he was married to someone else.

Mallory (not necessarily in this order):

What did he steal?
How did she know that he stole those things?
Where was she when she found out that he stole them?
Did his wife know he stole things?
Did his wife know he had a girlfriend?
Did they have kids?
How many kids?
Girls or boys?
What were their names?
Did they know their dad stole things?
Did the girl know that the wife didn't know that he stole things?
How did the girl find out he was married?
What do you mean, she found a letter?
Where was she when she found the letter?
Where was he when she was doing that?
Did she scream?
Did she break up with him right then or did she wait a while?
Did she meet the wife?
Was the wife mad?
Was the wife mean?
Where were the kids?
Why didn't the wife break up with him when she found out he had a girlfriend?
What did the girl do after they broke up?
Did she have any brothers or sisters?
Did he have any brothers or sisters?
What color was the car?
Did you like the movie?
Did you like it or love it?
What was the name of the movie again?
What's an education?
You mean like a lesson?
How is it a lesson when you fall in love with someone bad?
Did you ever fall in love with someone bad?
How old were you?
How old was he?
Did he have any brothers or sisters?

And so on. And on. And on.

5/28/10

Huh

So they're doing all kinds of road construction in my little town (thanks, stimulus package!) and a few days ago, access to the road my in-laws live on was cut off in one direction and re-routed through another direction and the way I get from here to there is now completely different and poor Amy's house is surrounded by concrete barriers and she has to drive through the "road closed" posts to get to her driveway -- and the upshot is that I have been very confused.

I didn't know, however, exactly HOW confused I was, until I found a map of the project online and, in the course of studying it, realized that in the entire eight years since we've moved here, I have been 90 degrees off. What I have been considering North, since 2002, is actually East. My house is not at all where I have thought that it was, in relation to the rest of town.

I wonder what else I've gotten wrong.

5/26/10

Preschool, farewell

First day of school:



Olympic Day of school:



Relay race:



Broad jump:



On the podium:



In the classroom:



Last day of school:



After the recital:



And there you have it.

5/25/10

Sniff

Today was Phoebe’s last day of preschool, ever.

This year Phoebe learned how to write all her letters, how to spell both of her names and “I love you.” She knows that Saturn is a cold planet and that the ocean water is salty (which can help you float), that “rojo” means “red” in Spanish, and that ten plus one equals eleven. She was friends with every single girl in her class (except the mean one who left at Christmastime, but even then, Phoebe was the only girl the mean girl didn’t hit at least once).

She’ll start kindergarten in August, and she’s completely ready – but I’m not ready to send her. She has so much fun just being a little kid – singing her crazy songs, tending to her “babies,” drawing her pictures, making up her stories. The thought of her sitting at a desk for six hours a day makes me sad. She’ll be fine, I know, and I know I’ll be fine too; I know once August comes around I’ll be more than ready to get her out of the house. But for now…I’m just wishing she didn’t have to grow up. I like her just the way she is, right now.

(End-of-year recital tonight; retrospective pictures tomorrow.)

5/19/10

A sporting chance

When I was in seventh grade, I was a “rotator” on the girls’ basketball team. This meant that I wasn’t good enough to be on the actual team, so I only got to play in one or two games of the season. (As an aside: I didn’t care. I didn’t like basketball; in fact I hated sports of all kinds. But in my school, girls like me – by which I mean white and middle-class – played basketball, and ran track, while girls not like me – by which I mean what you think I mean – were just in “P.E.” And yes, it would be fascinating to delve deeper into why that was so.)

Anyway, at my first “real” game, we changed in the locker room (out of our dress pants – for some reason we weren’t allowed to wear jeans on “game day”) and gathered for a pep talk from the coach, and then we formed a prayer circle – twelve or so twelve-year-old girls, sitting on the floor, holding hands, handing over the fate of our upcoming competition to the Lord. “Please God, let us win today,” the first girl prayed. The next one: “Please God, let us win and let me score some baskets.” I started to feel funny about all this. A few more girls prayed in the same vein, and then it was my turn. I said: “Please God, help us be good sports whether we win or lose.” There was an awkward pause. Then the next girl prayed: “Please God, let us beat the other team.”

We lost. I’m sure the other girls secretly blamed me.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to play sports in high school – I was in the band instead. We marched at every football game, and when I was a senior, I was invited to give the opening prayer at one of the games. I went up to the press box and asked God to protect the players and to help everyone get home safely. Then I said: “And please help us to remember that sportsmanship and honor are far more important than a victory.” There was a collective gasp from the coaches and managers in the press box around me. I said: “Amen!” and returned to my spot in the trumpet section.

We lost that game as well.

I guess the moral of this story is that even God knows that, when it comes to school sports and Texans, winning IS the most important thing.

5/16/10

Big Night Out

For the last stage of Mallory's First Communion Celebration, we took her to the Melting Pot last night.

She was very excited:



Phoebe, on the other hand, fell asleep in the car on the way there and woke up very grumpy:



Phoebe's meal consisted of one baby carrot and a bowl of croutons:



Mallory and Chris played tic-tac-toe while waiting for our food -- just as they do at the cheapo restaurants we usually frequent:



Mallory tried some cheese fondue, and chewed it all with a big smile on her face. I got a little teary, because I could tell she didn't like it, but she was trying not to show it. She's learned how to tell social lies! My baby's growing up. She did like the bouillon-cooked chicken. But the best part, of course -- and the whole reason she wanted to visit the Melting Pot to begin with -- was the chocolate:





It cheered Phoebe right up too:





It was a fun night.



(The six pounds I have lost obviously have not come off my chins.)

(That is, I HAD lost six pounds until they brought out the chocolate fondue.)

As we were leaving, I mentioned that we might stop by the bookstore on the way home. "We're not buying anything, though," I warned.

"Aw, why not?" Mallory said.

"Because I just spent one hundred and thirty five dollars on dinner, that's why," I answered.

"WOW," Mallory said. She paused, then asked, "Well, how much did DADDY spend? Because maybe HE can buy us something instead."

5/12/10

Catching up

Mallory had (made? received? took?) her first communion last Saturday. She was happy and proud and beautiful:



She got presents (in this case, my old charm bracelet, with new charms from Grandmom and Aunt Jana and Auntie Mimi):



And she got cake!



One thing I failed to mention while angsting about religion a few weeks ago is that I really like the church we go to, just as a church. It's huge, but almost everyone I've met is friendly and kind and supportive. The priest gives interesting sermons; the music is lovely. So, you know, that's good.

Phoebe also got dressed up:



The head tilt/shoulder shrug has become automatic for her. What a ham.

This is just me messing around with my new camera and photo-editing. I have no eye for such things. I mean, I like these two:





...but I don't know if they're actually any good.

But speaking of good, I went to see Wicked last night with Claudia and Amy, and it was wonderful. Loved it. Would see it again.

You know, I haven't felt very bloggy lately, and I've realized that it's because I don't really like this new template. It just doesn't feel like me, and I don't like the two columns over on the side. I don't know when I'm going to have time to do anything about it, but stay tuned.

5/3/10

Overheard

Nowadays, Phoebe spends most of her time talking into her play cell-phone or singing into her play microphone. Here are some choice snippets.

Hello? Hello? Oh, it's you, Nancy. I mean Sarah. I mean Jackie....No, Jackie, I have not seen your dog. I did see a black dog, but it had black spots so it is not your dog. It was in our backyard. It was a black dog.

Jackie, I have not seen your dog.

Jackie, it is not my job to keep track of your dog.

No, I have not seen your cat, either.

****

It's very hard, to live in New Jersey
You've gotta watch yourself, living in New Jersey
Keep looking for that light in the sky
But remember that New Jersey is hard

****

Hello? Hi honey, it's me. Just wanted to let you know that everything is ship-shape.

****

Hello? What did you find out?...Are you kidding me? Five hundred dollars? ... Five hundred dollars to paint the fence? I don't believe it. ... No, I know the fence has to get painted. ... Fine. Fine. Just do it. I don't want to hear it anymore. FINE!

[hangs up]

[sighs]

My husband. Is driving. Me crazy.