Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why Flashlight Tag Rocks

Tonight Lindsey wanted to play a game of flashlight tag. Now that it's getting darker earlier, we were able to play this by turning off all the lights in the house to play and it was like dark twilight, not pitch black.

For those of you unfamiliar with childhood games, the refresher course is:

1. The person who is "it" has a flashlight.
2. No one else does.
3. The person who is "it" counts to 10, then tries to find everybody by shining her flashlight everywhere.

So here were the best two parts:

When it was Marissa's turn to be "it," I opened the closest door and closed it, then hid behind the couch, thus fooling my 4-year-old into thinking I had hidden in the closest. (I'm an evil adult, I know.) Then I watched her walk by me, shine the light under the door and say, "Mommyyy....I found you!" She paused, then opened the door, shined the light all around and said, "Oh! You're not there!" Then she turned and accidentally shined the light on me, sitting there practically in the open, and jumped up in surprise.

The best other part:

The game had somehow traveled down into the basement by this time it was Lindsey's turn again and I hid in the boiler room. She remembered to check all the other closets but forgot the boiler room. I heard her go upstairs and look for me, then she started calling for me, so I called her name back and she figured out I was in the basement and came back down to keep looking.

When she finally opened the door to the boiler, I was holding up a cooler in front of my face. So picture this: a grown woman, crouching on the floor but whose body is in plain view, holding a cooler in front of my face so Lindsey couldn't see my face or hair. I kid you not, she looked right past me. She even shined the light right on the cooler, which was apparently floating in midair in her view, as she didn't see the body or the hands holding it up. When I finally dropped the cooler and said, "Surprise!" she jumped about three feet and screamed.

I think I'll be waking up a few times this evening, comforting some nightmares. But it'll have been worth it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dining Out

Now that it's darker in the morning, Wayne is finishing up his marathon training by running some evenings -- this night was one of them. So I decided it would be a good night to take the girls birthday gift shopping for a party Marissa's going to on Saturday, then take them out to eat.

It's been a while since we've taken the girls out to eat, and with good reason. We work hard on manners, on actually eating our food and not playing with it, that restaurants are not places to play tag, etc. Now it was time to take those lessons to test in a REAL restaurant: Perkin's.

For the most part they did well, and it helped that they were actually starving because it meant that when our food came they went to town. And they've learned from their daddy that Perkin's means breakfast 24 hours a day, so both of them ordered the french toast tower for dinner.

Halfway through our dinner an older couple sat in the booth behind us. After they'd been there about 10 minutes the gentleman looks behind him at whose sitting right behind him, and I realize that Lindsey's constant movement (really? not Lindsey...) has clearly been reverberating through the booth and disturbing him. So I ask her for the billionth time to sit still, please, not slump, and not stand up, and certainly not leap up and land with her feet under her butt on the seat of the booth.

She tries to oblige, but the "blue water" drink that came just before the actual food (and is Sprite with blue food coloring in it) is full of sugar that's hyping her up and she is unable to sit still. So she starts nibbling on her bacon that came with her french toast tower. She seems to be eating just fine, and then suddenly she starts choking. Well, instead of actually biting off pieces of bacon she'd been nibbling it up, and ultimately it was still one single piece of bacon in her mouth. So she spits it out onto the table, breaks it apart and begins to eat the pieces one by one. At which point I hear myself say something I don't believe I've ever said before:

"Lindsey! We do not re-eat food that we've spit out. Put that down!"

We? WE? As if somewhere in this country there is someone for whom that is acceptable behavior.

Don't Google it, I'm sure you'll find some case of some tribe somewhere who regurgitates food to give it to their young, but no thanks, still not acceptable here.

Better yet not five minutes later Marissa, who had eaten her bacon the same way, also begins to choke with chipmunk cheeks full of bacon. I end up holding out a napkin for her to spit her bacon out into and scrunching the napkin up into a ball. I feel sorry for whomever has to clean our table and hope to God the napkins on the table stay scrunched up when they pick them up.

As we left I apologized to the couple behind us if we had disturbed them. The woman smiled and said, "No apology, we have grandchildren too," but the man looked clearly annoyed.

I'm sure he lost his appetite as soon as he overheard me telling my child not to "re-eat" her food.

And just for a kicker, Lindsey did indeed ask if she and I could play tag while waiting for our food. But just from her side of the booth to mine, not all over the restaurant because she knows she can't do THAT anymore.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lindsey's Fire Drill

Two unrelated facts:
  1. Lindsey's school had a fire drill last week. Or, if they didn't they talked about an upcoming one.
  2. Lindsey has a favorite little puppy that she carries with her everywhere, including in her backpack at school.
How these facts collided:

This week, Lindsey began bringing her puppy with us in the car to school, but invariably when I drove to work I would find puppy sitting on the seat next to me. I kept thinking Lindsey was forgetting puppy in the car, an unusual thing considering that right now this thing goes with her everywhere.

So today I went to bring it in to school, and she handed it back to me and said, "No Mommy! Puppy has to stay in the car and be safe in case there's a fire, because if there's a fire I have to leave my backpack in the school and wouldn't be able to save him."

Makes sense to me.

Marissa-ism - a new one

Last weekend Wayne took Marissa to Hyland Park, a large park in Bloomington that has all kinds of areas and activities in it. They ended up walking the park trails for a while...a long while.

Marissa started to get tired, so they turned around and began walking back. At one point she sighed and said, "My legs are out of breath!"

How awesome!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Beginning of the End

I like reading the postcards on Post Secret (I have a link on this blog). This one really struck my heart.

About a month ago we had our dog Dax's teeth cleaned. He just turned 11 and has never had them cleaned. Over the past several years his vet has been tracking a heart murmur that has been getting persistently worse, and she recommended we get his teeth cleaned because if bacteria traveled from his teeth to his heart, well, it just wouldn't be good.

So while we had him under for the teeth cleaning, I asked if they could also take an X-ray of his heart. This had also been recommended a couple of years ago back when the heart murmur first appeared, but I couldn't see spending the money. Well, now I figured that since it would be convenient since he'd be under anyway, just take an X-ray while you're there.

I got a call at work mid-morning that the X-ray confirmed that Dax has congestive heart failure. As I understand it, this is when the heart gets weaker and weaker until it cannot pump away the fluid in the sac surrounding the heart. Eventually the pressure outside of the heart is more than the pressure in the heart, and it stops beating. Same thing that happens in humans.

Dax doesn't have fluid build up in his lungs (another symptom of congestive heart failure), nor does he have much around his heart. There's really nothing that can be done for him until fluid starts to build up, then he can take some heart medication and diuretics which will help clear the fluid. But eventually, we all know how this ends.

For now he is enjoying his days, tolerating the girls, and loves sleeping with them alternately at night. And when and if the day comes that we need to end his suffering for him, I hope I have the strength to stay with him until the end.

Our new art

We replaced a painting in our family room today with one of my favorites -- a photo I took of the girls when they stood up in Travis & Elizabeth's wedding this past summer.

I hope it hangs there for a very long at least until we have graduation photos hanging next to it, or perhaps even their own wedding photos. Graduations pics first though, girls, let's not get ahead of ourselves...

Lindsey Lost her First Tooth!

Her hair's wet because she just got done with a bath. She actually let me pull it out!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Proof we need to start going to church

Last night, while putting Marissa to bed:

Marissa: Mommy, who is God?

Me: Uh...well, God is the Being who created the whole world.

Marissa: Then who is the Cat in the Hat?

[Offstage right: raucous laughter from Daddy]

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Reflections on Walden Pond

I recently finished reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. This was a book I was required to read in high school, hated and never got anything out of it. The one thing I remember about it is that he had entire paragraphs that were comprised of only two sentences, that had so many sentences and commas in them that I could not make heads nor tails of them and never actually understood the points of his sentences.

Hmmm....I'm re-reading that sentence now and have only to say - touche, HDT.

One of my on-going goals is to read and re-read the classics, to see if perhaps they mean more to me as an adult as they did as a teenager. In this case, I have to say YES, I definitely understood and appreciated much more from this reading than I got out of it the first reading.

As I went through I highlighted passages that I found most impactful to me...not because I thought I needed to look for some relevance for a teacher or an impending test, but because I actually found relevance. It was staring me right in the face.

Some of my favorite quotes:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

My life itself was become my amusement and never ceased to be novel.

If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal,--that is your success.

Goodness is the only investment that never fails.

If one advanced confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and trust were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board.

Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

The last line is the closing line of the book. Thoreau died at the age of 44 of complications from tuberculosis. He never married and never had children. Yet our lives are the richer for his.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The School Year Begins

Sept 1 marked the first day of 1st grade for Lindsey, and the first day of Marissa at Fours Explores, her new pre-school program.

We are incredibly spoiled by having KinderCare be literally 30 seconds from our home. The 10-15 minute drive to Kenny School, where Marissa's new program is, is going to be a challenge for everyone to adapt to.

We first dropped Marissa off at her school. Lindsey came in with us and we got Marissa settled in. She has a hallway cubby for her quiet time items (blankie and sheepie) and an inside cubby for her daily items (change of clothes, notebook, supplies). We were late enough that the class had gone to the cafeteria for breakfast so we helped her get breakfast, too. They have trays for these little tykes, she looked so grown up taking her tray through the breakfast line! She gave us hugs and kisses good-bye, and seemed quite content having breakfast sitting across from her friend, Chitra, who also started this program this year.
Then off to Lake Harriet to drop off Lindsey at the before and after school care program, Mpls KIDS. Lindsey LOVES the Minneapolis KIDS program, and asked us to drop her off before Marissa the next day so she could have more time to play. So she was settled in about 2 minutes; I didn't even get any pictures of her there.

At the end of the day when I asked Lindsey how 1st grade was, her response was, "First grade is WAY better than kindergarten!"

When I asked Marissa...well, she told a long convoluted story about a mom who came to pick up her child, and left another child in the car. Then while she was in the building picking up her kid, the other kid got into the driver's seat and started the car. She even said that the kid drove away, but I suspect they only started the vehicle and sat there. Nothing about her day, nothing about her teacher, just this story.

I can't believe I have a 1st grader. It seems like just a few short years ago Lindsey was a baby. How did this happen?