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Hopes, Fears, and the Occasional Screaming Heeby-Jeebies

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June 4th, 2009

03:45 pm - More barely-in-context funniness.
Leila and I were sitting on her bed (which she refers to as "Clear Creek Road," after a book she likes, Raccoon at Clear Creek Road), playing with a bunch of her stuffed animals. Of course the seal family was in attendance -- Snowflake, despite being a baby seal, is the Mommy seal, and all the other stuffed and plastic seals (there are several) are her babies (with the exception of a bath toy malcolmina gave her, which is Grandma Seal.

Leila was babbling on about something the seal family was going to do, and I was only half-listening until she forcefully declared that the seals were doing/having/going to be (insert child-grammar here) "Day of BARK!"

As I was laughing my face off, she went on with her seal monologue, which included something about the seals going to/having (more child grammar) "Place of BARK!"

I have no idea. But she said it with all the capital letters just like that, and she means "bark" as a sound a seal makes, and I was nigh unto plotzing.

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12:36 am - Poop. And Pee. Do Not Read.
We don't belabor these things around here (um, hah. no, really, we don't!) but somehow Leila has a mild fascination with excreta.

For a while, it was merely the idea that animals poop and pee on the ground. This one fact seemed nearly incredible to her. Like, how is that even possible? How alien.

The other day, however, we were at a local park that features a barn full of animals, and Leila happened to witness not only a sheep pooping, but a donkey as well. Like, one right after the other.

"What are they doing?!" she asked me.

"They're doing poop," I said.

"What are they doing?!" she said again, apparently unable to believe her eyes or ears.

"They're doing poop, Leila," I reiterated. "Everybody has to poop sooner or later. If they didn't poop, they'd explode."

I was hoping for some sort of reaction to "explode," but I didn't get one. Probably because she doesn't know what "explode" means.

Later that day, she was off on a toilet tangent, prattling a litany a la, "Animals poop on the ground, birds poop in their nests, donkeys poop on the ground, ducks poop on the ground, they don't poop in the toilet, they poop on the ground. And spiders pee in their webs!"

That last one effectively killed me. I am typing this as a ghost right now. Every time I so much as think the phrase "spiders pee in their webs," I die even more. Speeelatt.

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June 1st, 2009

07:57 pm - Tonight's reading achievement
is more of a stunt. Reading sentences backwards.

She is wacky.

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12:07 am - Recent Milestones
O loard, so much going on. Most of the time I'm too depressed to be coherent about anything. And if I'm not depressed, I'm tired. Right now I'm tired.

But. Things must be recorded or I will forget them. And so.

Two Thursdays ago, Leila had her first-ever haircut. I made an appointment at a salon, and prepped her, telling her that we would go to a "hair salon" and she'd sit in a big chair that went up and up so she'd be sitting up high. And they'd put a big cape thing on her like a big bib, and she'd get her hair cut. And that it might feel like her hair was being pulled a little bit, but it wouldn't hurt. And also, when she went up and up in the big chair, she'd get to look at herself in a big mirror. I knew the mirror would be a big selling point.

She was having an ants-in-the-pants sort of day when we went to the salon, so I didn't have the stylist wash her hair; she just wetted it down. The cape/bib thing turned out to be especially for kids, and had ANIMALS all over it. SEA CREATURES. PERFECT. We had fun pointing out all the hammerhead sharks and starfish and dolphins. She loved the mirror, because she is addicted to her own face (can't imagine where she came by that particular vice).

Initially I was PO'ed because the stylist didn't cut off as much as I'd asked. It was hard to tell when Leila's hair was wet. But now I like it just fine. She's a bit cleaned up and looks like a very big girl. Scary.

This past Tuesday, Leila went to her school for two hours to get acclimated. I started freaking out the night before, and as I was driving her to the school, I thought I was going to puke.

I got her all signed in, and she breezed into that classroom like she belonged there. The kids were all sitting on the rug, doing the Morning Whatever, and Leila waded between them and sat down in the middle of them, plop.

The teacher looked up at me and smiled, "Well! This is nice! Where does she go to preschool?"

Um, she doesn't. She's at home with me.

"Well, great! I guess she's going to do just fine!"

Yeah. It sure looks that way.


My kid is not shy. What the hell.

The teacher introduced her to the kids, and got her to say how old she is. Then Leila announced that her name was in fact Ricky Raccoon. See above re Not shy. The she vamoosed off the rug, claiming she wanted to draw a horse. The para took her off to find paper and crayons, and I cleared out to let everybody do their thing.

What I did during my two hours of exquisite freedom is another story. Wow it was great. School might actually be OK for one or two things.

And then I went back to get her, and it took her a while to notice that I was there. Once she did notice me, she wanted to show me a bunch of the stuff she'd played with, and dragged me all around the room. There were real (dead) bugs in little enclosed cups with magnifiers on the tops. She liked those. She picked one up to show me, and the lid came off and dead bug spilled out. It was a big ol' cicada. A piece broke off. A tiny little Indian girl came over and very matter-of-factly picked up the cicada and cicada chunk, put them back in the cup and snapped the lid back on. Yarg. Thank you, little girl. I did not want to have to recover cicadachunks myself.

The para said Leila played at a bunch of the different "centers" (ah eduspeak) and had fun. The teacher said that Leila "looks like the beginning of the year, and the rest of the kids are, of course, end of the year" and that she'd be fine. On the way out, a couple of the kids said goodbye to her, and one little girl tried to hug her. Aw.

She also did not pee her pants, which was like super extra party bonus.

And then she fell asleep in the car and didn't wake up for THREE WHOLE HOURS which was like universal winnissimo total fancy winwinwin.

On Thursday I had to go to the dentist, and Leila agreed to ride in the big raisy-uppy chair. We made a big fuss about it, and she added to the festivities by hollering "I'm a SLOTH up in a TREE!" Yes! You are a sloth in a tree! Exactly!

Next time she's going to have to open her mouth and keep it that way.

On Saturday we had expeditions to the bookstore and a very mediocre new tearoom. Tearoom was fun despite being mediocre. Leila ate her ham and cheese sandwich by disassembling it and eating first all the cheese, then one or two pieces of the ham, then one or two pieces of the bread. There was a lot of stuff left, and the proprietress was in a tizzy, wondering if something had been wrong with the sandwich.

"No. She's three and a half, that's all," I said.

The best part of the tearoom was the giant gooey chocolate chip cookies. Leila had most of one, and ended up extremely coated. Heck, I had only a fraction of the darn thing, and I was a Chocolate Slick by the end of it. Deeeelicious.

The big news is, Leila can read. Basically. It's hard to tell. I don't think she's fluent yet, but she knows a LOT of words, enough to do a combination of sight-word "reading" and sounding stuff out to read strings of words at a time. Phrases. Not quite sentences. She is definitely getting there! Hooray!

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May 13th, 2009

11:11 pm - And he didn't come back till the fourth of July
Tonight, just before bed, I attempted to teach Leila how to do "Miss Mary Mack."

I say "attempted" because she thought it was THE goddamn funniest thing she'd yet seen and heard in her young life, and could barely do/say/retain any of it for all the hysterical laughing she was doing.

It was pretty awesome.

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May 4th, 2009

08:35 pm - Funnygurrill
Leila has been consistently hilarious lately. A few highlights:

This afternoon, she woke up from her nap in the car. Clutching Snowflake, as always. I sat next to her as she woke up, holding her hand, giving her little pats and kisses, wondering if this was going to be a Crabby Wakeup or a Nice Wakeup. If the first thing out of her mouth is a wail or gritch, look out. If the first thing she says is something coherent, especially something about animals, we're gonna be OK.

She looked at me slantwise. The moment of truth was upon us.

"Reeeeadyy?" she asked, with great impending-ness.

"Yeah..." I said.

And then she whacked me with Snowflake and yelled, "ART!" Which is what seals say.

Also, on Saturday night, as I was saying goodbye to her so I could go to the theater & stage-manage the show, she started in with her usual pleas, "Mommy, don't go! I wanna stay with you, Mommy!" After I defused that, she got very chipper.

"Mommy! You cannot do a show without a blue necklace, and a green necklace." She put her blue and green bead necklaces on me.

"You cannot do a show without two yellow spiders." She wedged two of her plastic spider rings from Halloween onto my fingers.

After accessorizing me according to her whim, she cheered, "Break a leg, Mommy!" and I was allowed to leave.

I did take the spider rings off, but I wore the beads all night. Various people wanted to know "what [I] did to get the Mardi Gras beads."

"I had a child," I said, and told them the story of Leila outfitting me for the evening.

The general response was, "Yeah, you're starting that kid early. How long until she's on stage?" Heh. It's only a matter of time.

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April 27th, 2009

01:16 pm - Baking with the Girl
Tomorrow is my mother-in-law's birthday. Tomorrow being Tuesday, and Tuesday being the day my mother-in-law comes over to play with Leila for a few hours while I Do Stuff (this week Stuff = freelance work), this means my mother-in-law will be over here for her birthday. So of course I had to Do Stuff for her birthday, because I that is the way I am.

Leila enjoyed making her a card, and then Leila and I baked a batch of these. Like no joke, Leila and I made them. She helped, for real, and not in a babyish lame-o way.

I'd tell her to stir in an ingredient, walk away from the table for a minute to get something, and when I came back, the ingredient would be all mixed in. She did meaningful stuff! She's a Helper!

I am so psyched, and proud of her. She is Gettin' Biggah. I told her she's a good helper, and that she'll be a good baker someday. She was like whatever, and was much happier about getting to eat M&Ms, trying a taste of unsweetened baking cocoa (which she seemed to like. hm.) and getting her first-ever taste of raw cookie dough.

The blondies are currently in the oven, so there's no word yet on whether Leila secretly managed to ruin the batter while my back was turned. Like maybe she slipped a plastic sea turtle in there.

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April 25th, 2009

10:31 pm - The Latest Child Funnyism
This morning I was digging in the side yard, planting a whole mess of pachysandra that my parents pulled up & were going to throw out. Gimme that!

Charles and Leila came outside eventually, because there were gutters to be cleaned. Leila wandered over to me and was all, "I wanna help you, Mommy! I'm helping! I'm doing gardening! I'm helping in the garden!" While just standing there.

She watched me dig a hole for a bunch of pachysandra bits. Eyed the mounting pile of dark brown, pebbly New England dirt. And uttered, with a skepticism that belied her youth: "Is that dog poop?"


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March 13th, 2009

08:21 pm - The One Girl at the Frog Party
Today I took Leila to a "Friendly Frogs" class at a local children's museum. Her most recent issue of Your Big Backyard had an article about eggs, and they talked about frog eggs, and there was a make-your-own minibook about tadpoles. She's into frogs lately, so I thought this frog class would be a good idea.

It was one hour of talking about/looking at pictures of stages of frog life, examining a frog skeleton, doing a frog-related craft, listening to various frog calls on the internet, and meeting a real-live African clawed frog named Webster.

About 10 minutes into the class, I noticed that she was the only girl in attendance. I was somewhat pleased by this.

She had a great time, of course. She loves any kind of animal whatsoever -- even spiders, snakes, lizards, bats. An animal does not have to be cute or fuzzy to win her interest and admiration. When we got home, I cued up the website that had been used in the class -- eNature.com and we spent about half an hour listening to the frog calls again and cracking up over how frogs can sound like birds, pigs, or just...I dunno. Pieces of wood clacking together.

The girly is Fun.

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March 7th, 2009

07:50 pm - Funnyism for the day
One of Leila's favorite dinosaurs is a thing called the compsognathus. I don't even have a handle on what this creature looks like or anything, but Leila likes it a whole real bunch and will give little talks about its habits, like she does with just about every other animal on the planet. She loves them all.

So today, apparently (I wasn't around; Charles witnessed this) Leila spake thusly:

"The compsognathus uses its tail for preschool story hour."


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