Sunday, May 30, 2010

Good grooming, with play-dough

Audrey is alert to everything that is "just for grown-ups," and knows how to adapt the materials at hand into useful approximations, like these play dough press-on nails. I remember scribbling on my fingernails with a purple crayon, which seems kind of amateurish compared to Audrey's method here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It says the weight limit is 27 pounds, so...

Parenting our mild-mannered, retiring toddler is easy and fun! See?!

Gardening and Baking with Aunt Margaret

It's hard to say who enjoyed Margaret and Ruth's visit more-- me, or Audrey. Audrey was over the moon about getting to plant her own garden in pots on the back porch with Margaret's help, and is delighting in checking on her seeds each day; the beans are gaining about an inch in height a day, the strawberry plants are enthusiastically sending runners in every direction and the marigolds are cheer itself. And muffin-making was just as great-- helping to break the eggs, getting to stir, and nary a scolding about making a mess! She also watched her cousin Ruth in respectful awe as Ruth carried her cello case-- magical!-- through the house.

Did I enjoy the gardening and baking projects because someone else did all the work, from set-up to supervising and even clean-up? Yes. But there was another element here that surprised me and made me think, and that was seeing Audrey begin a relationship of her own with Margaret, someone who has always been very dear to me and who will now have an important spot in Audrey's life, too. It was a reminder that Audrey is not a doll that I invented, and for whom I will manufacture relationships. She has her own aunts and cousins and friends. This was made powerfully clear when I stepped onto the back porch to take photos of the seed planting and Audrey gave me a two-hands traffic cop stop and said, "No, Mom! Don't come into our garden!"

She didn't need me right then. She was happily enjoying her time with someone else, and all I needed to do was take a step back and give her, as I am always exhorting her to do for Calvin, "some space."

Monday, May 17, 2010


Sentimentality warning: don't read this if you have had it up-to-here with Mommy blogger sappiness.

This photo, which was taken by our great friend Amy a few weeks ago, makes my chest ache. Audrey's face has just that little curve of baby roundness, the dimple in the chin, the fawn eyes. Even since it was taken her face looks longer and more little girl than infant. And every day she carries herself a bit more like the independent being she is working hard to become. To wit-- sometimes, instead of saying "No!" and battling me when she doesn't want to do something, she just shrugs and says, "Nope," and moves on. Which is such a frank acknowledgement that I do not control her, that she will decide for herself, it sets me back on my heels every time it happens. I love her independence in the abstract, as much as it makes me pull my hair out in the moment.

All right then. On with the day. Miss Independent Spirit has to be picked up from nursery school, where she makes everyone call her "Dr. Audrey" and goes around with the play stethoscope saying, "Take a deeeeeeeeeep breaf."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Overheard: The dears and the honeys

Audrey: Mom, you're the dear and I'm the honey.

This isn't a quote, exactly, but it fits the category and demonstrates just how hard you have to work to learn spoken English. I said to Audrey, "Let's make a deal," I forget what bargain I was trying to strike with her but it was something along the lines of You eat the rest of that oatmeal and then we can go play with sidewalk chalk, or something like that. And after I spelled out the terms and she agreed I said, "Okay, let's shake hands." Audrey looked at me quizzically for a moment and then raised both hands above her head and shook them. She seemed resigned to the idea that in order to communicate with me she'd have to go along with my bizarre customs and just pretend that any of it makes sense.

Audrey, whispering in Calvin's ear, "Calvin, I have a secret to tell you. I love you!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


This might be wasting food, but I think one scant cup of chana dal, sacrificed to the cause of keeping a toddler happily employed for 30 minutes, was worth it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Calvin's application to Shriners International


Thank you for considering my application for membership to the brotherhood of Shriners. Although I am younger that most of your applicants, I think you will agree that I can be a great asset to your organization. Here are just a few reasons I would made a great Shriner:

-- I am cute, responsible, civic-minded, and an enthusiastic Good Will Ambassador in my community. Like many of you, I enjoy flirting with elderly women in grocery stores and other retail establishments, and I love how it always makes their day.

--I'm rockin' the red fez, as you can see.

--I am well suited to driving those little tiny cars you guys use.

--My membership would lower the average age of a Shriner by 75 years.

--I love the circus.

In conclusion, you have to pick me. Pick me! Pick me! Look at that face; how can you say no?

I eagerly await my acceptance letter and Shriner decoder ring.



Reading with Gramma Jean

Gramma's back in town, with prezzies like a great little set of Maurice Sendak books that Audrey is taking everywhere in her various purses and backpacks, and committing to memory. Gramma is also the source of stickers; I have pulled several off the soles of my feet today, and while I was using the bathroom earlier found a couple on the toilet paper roll.

Like a duck to water...

No surprises here: Calvin loves the jumpster. L-O-V-E-S it. I can see myself enjoying many happy minutes reading magazines while he spins and leaps and does the occasional show-offy arabesque, just 'cause he can. If this thing isn't the best thirty bucks we ever spent...