Friday, February 29, 2008

Mommy 411


Today is one of those days when I wish there was a parenting manual.

After showing signs of the prevalent winter cold, Amanda had a sick day from school on Tuesday. She seemed somewhat better and had no fever Wednesday and Thursday, so she went to school. Last evening, after school and piano, she was dragging and had watery eyes, so I took her temperature, and the fever was back. After a night of cold medicine, the vaporizer, Vicks and socks, she was still complaining this morning. Her fever was just slightly elevated, and her only other symptom has been a stuffy/runny nose. (If I give her medicine for the stuffiness, it runs like a faucet; if I give her medicine to stop the running, she says she can't breathe.) Her poor nose and lips are so chapped, and we've gone through a case of Kleenex.

So, I kept her home again today. I know some parents might have drugged her up and sent her to school... and she probably would have been fine... but the situation is also complicated by the BIG birthday party, scheduled for tomorrow. Now, I know a birthday party is not the most important thing in life, certainly not more important than school, but it is a pretty big deal when you're turning six, and all your classmates are planning to join you at the bowling alley!

Meantime, we had houseguests-- our friends Alicia, Erik, and Annie-- who left this morning. When Alicia called earlier this week and said they were coming, I thought it would be fine, great... Amanda would be over her cold and all would be well. But, they were here, and suddenly, I had a patient on the couch. They were wonderful about it, but I will feel badly if they get sick, too.

Then, again, I really don't think I know anyone, at least anyone in the Northern Hemisphere, who ISN'T sick this month. Oh, spring, you can't come soon enough!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Toast to the Future?

We recently got a new toaster-- a gift from Todd's mom, because ours was on the fritz. And, as I packed up the old toaster-- a wedding gift-- I realized something: As much as I sometimes seem surprised by the turns my life has taken... Maybe this was actually the path I'd always planned.

I joke often that my family is still a mystery to me. I look around and think, "Who are all you people? Where did you come from? Who is your mother, and why doesn't she wipe your nose?" However, I got to thinking, with no plans for children even remotely on the horizon when we said, "I do," we did, for some odd reason, register for a four-slice toaster. Hmmm...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Really "Sorry"


In this endless winter, and with our kids getting a bit older, we find we are playing more board games. This evening, Todd promised to play Sorry with the girls after supper. I was definitely out, after the pre-dinner game of Candyland ended with Elisabeth telling me she hated me.

So, now I am sitting on the computer (obviously) eavesdropping on the game of Sorry. The game talk consists of:
"Whose turn is it?"
"You moved my guy."
"Libby, what are you doing?"
"You can't split a 3."
"That's not your guy."
"Start over and count again."
"Start over and count again."
"What are you doing? A 7 does not mean switch places."
"If you aren't going to take the game seriously, I'm quitting."
"Start over and count again."
"I quit."
"I didn't mean not to take it seriously. I just wanted to play with Benny and play the game."
(crying)

Now, who's really Sorry?

Sick Day


Amanda is home sick today. She woke up complaining of a sore throat and a stomachache. She was running a mild fever. And my poor nephew has been so sick, I thought, "Well, maybe she is." I called the doctor's office and emailed her teacher, and then took Libby to preschool. But it soon became apparent, as Amanda was skipping down the halls of the clinic, that this was no serious sickness.

The nurses and clerks laughed. Haven't we all had that experience where we think a kid is sick enough to take to the doctor, but, by the time the appointment rolls around, she is fine? The pediatrician said it was "possible" she was in the very early stages of strep or the flu, but nothing appeared alarming enough to start an antibiotic.

At lunchtime, Amanda ate an entire square of leftover lasagna and a banana, because, "Bananas always go good with lasagna." So, maybe it's more of a mental health day. The girls have been playing well together, and I rented a movie for them to watch. Whenever I ask Amanda how she's feeling, she coughs.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Press on in Prayer

I was looking at the site and noticing it had been quite a while since I made changes to my Prayer Requests. I guess this is a good thing, meaning stuff has settled down. For a while there, I felt like I was in a constant state of panic over this crisis or that. It is a good time for a few updates, though.

Andrew, the infant nephew of one of Todd's coworkers, is going home this week. It's been about 3 1/2 months since he was born. He had one heart surgery, and is now doing swimmingly. That calls for a prayer of thanksgiving!

Uncle David, who has advanced Parkinson's Disease, is now in hospice care. His daughter and her partner are assisting in his care. Please continue to pray for peace for his whole family.

Cousin Danine is deep in the throes of her cancer fight. She continues to take part in an experimental study, and is hopefully receiving the new drug and not the placebo. But, in the meantime, she has contracted pneumonia. Antibiotics have not yet won the battle, and she is struggling.

I have spoken with a number of friends in the past few days who all have amazing things going on in their lives, from a new house to a renewed sense of peace in the Lord. Lent is a wondrous time-- if you allow it to be.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm the Shopper?!

I was out to dinner with some friends last evening when Todd called. Kind of strange, I thought, because I rarely go out, and he's really good about leaving me alone when I do. When I heard the ring, and looked at the clock, I was worried-- I thought maybe a kid was sick, or someone was throwing a fit because a blanket was missing.

But, no, Todd was calling with his own issue. He was watching the Home Shopping Network and wanted to buy a vintage-style guitar, inspired by the '57 Chevy, complete with a DVD how-to series by Esteban. "It's a 30-piece set, limited edition, and it's only $200!" Luckily, I was almost home... and I got there in time to rip the remote control out of his hands.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mooned


We let the girls stay up a little late last night to watch the lunar eclipse. What an experience that was. Scientists we are NOT. Here is a sample of some of the comments I heard during the viewing:

Amanda: "I think I see rings around the moon-- like Jupiter."
Elisabeth: "Don't worry, Mom. Me and Grandma are moon experts."
Amanda: "If the moon makes an eclipse, what do the stars do?"
Amanda: "The moon looks red like Mars. Isn't that right, Mom? Don't they call Mars the Red Planet?"
Elisabeth: "Mom, don't stand so close to the window, or else you'll make the moon crash into us!"
Amanda: "Which planet did God make first?"
Elisabeth: "God didn't make this eclipse. Daenae did. He was supposed to ride the bus to Chuck E. Cheese, but he went to the moon instead." (Daenae is her sometimes imaginary friend-- and he's always naughty.)
Amanda: "Are there aliens?" (Mom: "No.") "But what about martians? Martians are aliens from Mars." (Mom: "There are no martians, no aliens." Todd: "There are probably aliens out there." Mom: "Thanks.")
Amanda: (as the total eclipse neared) "Come on, Moon. Just one more inch to go!"
Elisabeth: "The moon looks like Daddy's bottom!" (wild giggling)

By the way, in case you were wondering, I did not take that photo. Mine all looked like outtakes from "The Blair Witch Project."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Help! I've Fallen...

I apologize straight off for not having a photo of this-- but he fell asleep.

We have a beautiful snowsuit for Benjamin, handed down from one of our friends. When she gave it to me, I thought it would come in so handy for this winter. But, Benjamin is not walking around the way we thought he would be, and so I find I typically just go to the jacket. But, this morning, it was so cold and so windy and we had to go out, so I turned to the snowsuit.

Ben sure was warm... And he sure was ticked. He looked like a little sausage in that thing. I took off the foot "booties," so his shoes would stick out, but he still couldn't walk. Even standing still, next to a wall or a chair, he cried, because his hands were snapped into the thumb-less mittens, and he couldn't hold on to anything. Eventually, he would just slide down and melt into a downy lump on the floor. My kid is the little brother in "A Christmas Story."

And, he did fall asleep in the car on the way home. He was so bundled up, it was probably 75 degrees in that thing. I nearly woke him just trying to get him out of it. Please pray for spring.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Family of Fishes






It took me a couple days to recover-- but I am now rested enough to report we spent part of the holiday weekend with my whole family at a waterpark hotel. It was a gift from Grandma and Grandpa... but certainly not a gift for them, as they ran their heinies off, chasing and entertaining grandkids!

I marveled at how big all the kids are getting. Amanda was showing off with her back float. Elisabeth actually ventured out of the hot tub a few times to slip down the kiddie slides. Benjamin loved the water-- stayed in each day till his lips and toes actually turned purple. Kazmer and Libby were best buddies in crime and in water sports. Solomon preferred the warmth of the hot tub, but did play a little water basketball.

This was also another opportunity for Teddy and Kristin to get in on the kid action. The childless couple had no choice but to help slippery hands across the rope ladder and to take turns counting heads. But, we all took a few runs down the big slides, too. It was not exactly the tropical getaway I've been seeking... but I definitely got in plenty of time in a bathing suit!

Gasp, Choke, Cough...

Amanda got a phone call tonight... from a boy. We were just cleaning up after dinner when the phone rang. I heard Todd ask, "And who is this? And you know her how? And why is it you want to speak with her?" When Daddy did finally hand over the receiver, he first put it on speaker phone, so we could listen in:

Amanda: "Hi."
Jack: "Amanda, this is Jack."
Amanda: "Hi."
Jack: "I can come to your birthday party."
Amanda: "Oh."
Jack: "Is there going to be bowling, too?"
Amanda: "Yeah."
Jack: "Oh, I thought it was just a pizza party."
Amanda: "No, it's at the bowling alley, so there's bowling. And cake, too."
Jack: "What shape is your cake?"
Amanda: "Rectangle. With red and white flowers."
Jack: "Where do you live?"
Amanda: "On the lake."
Jack: "Oh, I live in Buffalo."
Amanda: "So do I. The lake is in Buffalo."
Jack: "So how come we live so far apart?"
Amanda: "We don't. We both live in Buffalo."
Jack: "What do you want for your birthday? Do you want a Barbie doll?"
Amanda: "Yeah. I really want one of those Mariposa Barbies."
Jack: "Hold on. Can you tell that to my mom?" (Coaching in the background.) "Oh, never mind. Bye, Amanda."
Amanda: "Bye. See you in school tomorrow."
Jack: "Yee-haw!"

Yes, Amanda's birthday party invitations went out, and the social butterfly insisted on inviting her whole class-- boys, too. This should be interesting. And I'm relieved it was an RSVP... The phone calls from boys can wait 10 or 12 years.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dirty Truth


I miss having a clean house. In our childless years, I would get up on Saturday mornings and clean the house from top to bottom. I would get it spotless by noon, so I could go on to some weekend fun-- shopping, movies, dinner with friends.

Today, I got up with the girls around 7. By noon, I had picked up the living room and den, and cleaned one bathroom. OK, so I had also served and cleaned up after two meals and run the dishwasher twice. But the house still looked like you might find a crack addict in the corner.

Now, nearly nine hours after I began, I have scrubbed all the bathrooms, done five loads of laundry, and washed the kitchen floor (on which my husband is currently making sawdust.) I still haven't dusted, vacuumed, cleaned up the mud room, changed the kids' bedding, or put away all those clean clothes.

For the afternoon, I banished the girls to the toy room and told them to clean up their mess. "If we do, will you take us to Build-a-Bear?" Amanda asked. "No. WHEN you do, I'll let you live here for another week." I just poked my head into the Barbie-clothes-and-plastic-food chaos to see how things were going. "We're about half done," Amanda told me. Apparently, they are not teaching fractions in kindergarten.

It did take till that third child for me to let go of the Clean House concept and adopt the One Clean Room model. (For those who visit often, yes, that one room is the closed-door guest room. And stay out!) But, these days, my choices are: 1) make myself crazy, 2) blush and make excuses, or 3) laugh, shrug, and make myself a drink.

One-Liners

Todd: "You are so smart. Are you the smartest girl in your class?"
Amanda: "Well, I do know quite a lot about armadillos."

Todd: "Honey, next month, when I go to St. Petersburg (Florida)..."
Andrea: (thinking) "...do you want to come with me?"
Todd: (finishes) "...there's a Brooks Brothers outlet store right nearby."

Amanda: (comes running down the driveway waving an envelope) "It's a message from the bus driver, and it's good, not bad-- I asked her."

Elisabeth: (whining) "I'm tired."
Mommy: "Then you should go to your room and take a nap."
Elisabeth: "No, I'm tired of cleaning... and I'm tired of you."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mother Heloise to the Rescue

I bought a chair for our bedroom. It was one I'd had my eye on for a while, but I waited for it to go on sale, of course. And, once the price was reduced, I got the only one left. I was fine with buying the floor model-- but someone had affixed a price tag to one corner of the leather using an adhesive pad (It looked like one of those floor protectors you would stick to the end of a chair leg.) "No problem," I thought, "I'll just use a little Goo Gone when I get home." But, when I got out the bottle, the Goo Gone label read "NOT FOR USE ON LEATHER." So, I called my mother. She told me to spray it with Pam cooking spray. I did, and the sticky residue rubbed right off. Weird, but cool, right? Plus, now the bedroom smells like baking bread.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love is in the Air


Happy Valentine's Day! Not a holiday we really get into around here... However, in honor of hearts, I thought I would post my list of the best love songs. Yes, there are different kinds of love, and some of these are for different situations. The list is up for debate, and open to your suggestions, which I will add (if I agree!)

"Angel Eyes," The Jeff Healy Band
"The Arms of Orion," Prince ("Batman" soundtrack)
"Baby, It's Cold Outside," James Taylor & Natalie Cole
"Can't Help Falling in Love," Elvis Presley
"Don't Know Much," Aaron Neville & Linda Ronstadt
"Endless Love," Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
"Every Breath You Take," The Police
"From This Moment On," Shania Twain
"Hey Baby," Bruce Channel ("Dirty Dancing" soundtrack)
"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)," James Taylor
"I Can't Fight This Feeling," REO Speedwagon
"I Know You By Heart," Eva Cassidy
"I Will Always Love You," Dolly Parton
"Ice Cream," Sarah McLachlan
"I'll Know," from "Guys & Dolls"
"I've Got You Under My Skin," Diana Krall
"Just the Way You Are," Billy Joel
"Kiss," Prince
"Lady in Red," Chris de Burgh
"Light My Fire," The Doors
"Lost in Love," Air Supply
"Moondance," Van Morrison
"Only Wanna Be With You," Hootie and the Blowfish
"Something," The Beatles
"Sun and Moon," from "Miss Saigon"
"Take My Breath Away," Berlin (love theme from "Top Gun")
"Vincent (Starry Starry Night)," Don McLean
"Want Your Body," Julian Lennon
"We are in Love," Harry Connick Jr.
"Wonderful Tonight," Eric Clapton
"You Can Leave Your Hat On," Joe Cocker
"You're My Home," Billy Joel
"You're the Inspiration," Chicago

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Super Secret Shopper

Somewhere along the line, I got hooked up with this focus group/field study company, and someone calls me a couple times a year to ask me to participate in various studies. Once, I had to try out different types of wet Swiffer-type cloths and then give my opinion, while company execs listened and watched through a two-way mirror. That kind of thing. It's good for me, because you know how easily my opinions flow from my mouth; plus, I get paid, and I get to keep all the samples. And you know how I love free stuff.

So, an interviewer called and asked if I would be willing to take part in a study where I had to go to a store in St. Cloud and give my opinion on some products. She said it would only take 30 minutes, and I would be paid with a $75 gift card from that store. But before she told me which store, she had to ask some questions to see if I qualified. (One time, the study was to watch and rate a TV show-- and I am obviously not a Joe Schmoe in the TV world.) Anyway, the first question is: "Do you shop at any of these stores at least two times per month-- Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target?" Are you kidding me?! Yep, 75 bucks to go stand at TARGET for a half-hour! They have no idea who they're dealing with.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Frustration

Kindergarten has changed Amanda. She has always been head-strong and stubborn, but she is now more fiercely independent than ever. And she gets so upset whenever she can't do something perfectly the first time.

Recently, Amanda has decided she would like to start reading chapter books. We bought a couple new ones, and Grandma and I dug out a bunch of my early readers. Of course, we mostly read to the girls, but Amanda is able to sight read and sound out sentences at a time. She has amused us, however, with her insistence that her reading is correct... when sometimes it definitely is not. She reads the hot lunch menu each morning, and one day insisted the item read simply "lunch," because it started with an "l." It was actually lettuce salad-- not one of Amanda's favorites. She also confuses "hot dog" and "hamburger."

We've also been having battles over the piano. She had a tough lesson last week. For the first time, she had to repeat practicing a song for this second week because she just could not get the counting. It's been going much better the past few days. However, today, I could sense the practice session going south... with Amanda missing more and more notes the more times she started over. Finally, I said, "Why don't you stop for a while? Take a deep breath, walk away, and then come back and finish later. You don't want to get frustrated." She spit back at me, "But Mom, I'm already frustrated! And it's hard not to get frustrated when you're already frustrated!" Hard to argue with that kind of logic.

A Nutty Lunch


I gave Benjamin a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and he did not die. Todd started it, actually. On Sunday, he "accidentally" gave Ben a peanut butter cookie, and then said he "forgot" that babies can't have peanut butter. It was all a part of Daddy's secret plot to fatten up our son: He thinks peanut butter will do the trick, and he's been gunning for it for months.

I've been the cautious, cautious mommy. All the doctors and all the parenting magazines are always warning about peanut allergies. Plus, both our nephews have had reactions to peanut butter, so that makes me even more wary. Neither of the girls had peanut butter till age two-- it was like an event each time we introduced it. But, we saw no reaction on Sunday... and Libby wanted peanut butter and honey for lunch... so I decided to go for it. Appears as though Ben liked it, doesn't it?

Movin' In



Now that the kitchen is coming together, this is actually starting to feel more like our home and less like a construction zone. As each row of drawers gets built and installed, I unpack a few more boxes from the basement. Every time I go down there, I am reminded our family story should be entitled, "The Bag Lady and the Pack Rat."

The good thing about living with an unfinished kitchen for a year-and-a-half is that I've been able to figure out exactly where I want things. So far, it all makes sense. And now, I have fun things, like little spice containers in a special spice drawer under the cooktop!

This past weekend, we even hung some pictures on the walls in the den... All right, so they're just the one-year portraits of our babies-- they finally came back from the framer. Family is the way we live; family is the way we decorate.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Small Issue

Here is an interesting dilemma: Elisabeth is extremely interested in "little people." I'm assuming she means real people, of small stature, and not the Fisher Price toys. I can only guess she picked up the term from TLC's "Little People, Big World." However, I swear, I do not watch that show. I just don't find it that interesting to peek in on the life of a family that is basically just like any other family, except some of them are really short. But, maybe she's secretly watching with Uncle Teddy, because I hear he is a fan.

Anyway, Libby has taken to pointing out little people in public. She doesn't make a big scene, or use any derogatory terms, but she always says, "Mom, there's a little people." I usually just acknowledge her comment with a nod and a smile (so she'll move on to another topic) and that's that. However, today when we were leaving the grocery store, a man was walking out in front of us, and Elisabeth said, loudly, "Mom, that man is a little people!" But he wasn't. I mean, seriously, he was like 5'8". I started thinking her life is surrounded by tall men... I never really saw it as a problem until now.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Eating with Kids




UGH.

Growing Up


Ben is getting old before my very eyes. At times, his development has been so painfully slow, I think, "Will you always be a baby?" But, this week, I am catching him doing so many "big boy" things-- and they're not all good. Check out what happened while I was making supper: He pushed the chair from the living room, and climbed right up. Given the chance, he would have pulled the hot soup pot down on his head.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Diagnosis


Dr. Mom says my headache is due to caffeine withdrawl. I did decide to cut out Diet Coke-- Lenten sacrifice. But, Ash Wednesday was only yesterday. Could it really have that kind of effect in just one day? I guess it could, when you take it in as fast as I do.

I know, I know, you're not supposed to tell others what you give up for Lent. Sacrifice in private, so only God knows what you're doing... or something like that. But, it seems this giving-up-soda thing is going to be a whole family affair, if I'm having unable-to-function-type headaches. I guess I made their sacrifice for them!

I Have a Headache

Did I mention I have a splitting headache? I woke up with it yesterday morning-- kind of a dull ache-- but by suppertime, it was excruciating. I finally took Motrin and Excedrin PM at the same time and went to bed. This morning, it is not so awful, but I still have a headache.

It doesn't help that I've been having the oddest dreams lately. The other night, I had a dream that a good friend was an alcoholic, and Todd and I had to do the intervention and get her kids ready for a new year of school while she went to treatment. Last night, it was that Todd was having an affair. When I found out about it and called him on it, he let it slip about another woman... so he was actually having TWO affairs. I gathered the young, gorgeous women and him in one room. Well, one didn't know about the other, so then THEY started crying. All the while, I'm screaming, "BUT I BORE HIM THREE CHILDREN!"

And, now, I have to get two little ones up and dressed and out the door to preschool. That's enough to give anyone a headache.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Salute to Characters

We live in a pretty small town, and, while it will be the town our children grow up in, it is not the small town I, or my husband, grew up in. So, I sometimes feel like an outsider looking in. I didn't realize that the preschool teacher's husband was the president of the bank... that type of thing. However, I do notice certain "characters" around town, and I find myself wondering about their lives.

There is Becky, the super-thin, super-tan young woman with the white, white teeth (Are they real?) who works at Cub Foods. When not in her checkout line, I see her all around town. Becky does not drive, so I often see her walking. She is always with an older woman who I presume is her mother. Sometimes, walking with Becky and Mom is another woman and a young boy. I have decided these are Becky's older sister and nephew. Becky seems to be working at the grocery store every time I come in. She is so quiet, she rarely even says "Hello" when I come through her line. Occasionally, she will offer a benign pleasantry, and it catches me off guard. I am equally thrown when I see Becky and her mom at Culver's, or walking to the coffee shop.

Before Becky, there was Orrin. This young man was also a checker at Cub, but I haven't seen him in ages. He always had a huge smile on his face, but was incredibly soft spoken and cautious. He treated my eggs as though they were newborns. In the beginning, I loved Orrin for the warmth he exuded. But, as time went on, I couldn't go through Orrin's checkout line, because the ice cream would melt before he got around to passing it over the scanner.

There's also a mean lady at the grocery store, one who deliberately smashes the bread and crunches the chips. I have not committed her name to memory, but I know her face, and I will wait in a longer line just to avoid her.

I would be remiss for not mentioning Kathy at Target. She is older than me, I think, with glasses and salt-and-pepper hair. And Kathy is a chatty one-- always asking the kids' ages or names, and comparing them to her niece. I've also learned from my exchanges with Kathy that she had a heart condition as a child, and doctors told her parents she would never live to adulthood. I also happen to know she still lives with her parents. Kathy is friendly and helpful, while, at the same time, inhabiting an entirely different planet. When I was shopping just yesterday, I headed for a checkout and saw Kathy standing one lane over, doing something very involved with packs of gum. I overheard the checker in my lane ask another coworker, "Isn't she working?" The other one shrugged and said, "I guess so."

Then, there's Sue at McDonald's. I've mentioned her before-- kind, friendly, eager to help. She also gets the bum jobs. I remember being in that disgusting Playland one noon hour when she had to crawl into the tubes with disinfectant because someone had a potty accident. Sue also walks to and from work, so I see her along the highway. I would offer her a ride, but, do you think that would be weird?

Also, there's Linda at the Wal-Mart McDonald's. I get a Diet Coke pretty much every time I come in the door, and she seems to be working pretty much every day, so we're on familiar terms. Once, I was sitting across the restaurant, feeding Ben ice cream off a plastic knife. She left her post at the counter to bring me a spoon. Recently, Linda asked me for advice on potty training her five-year-old daughter. "Even my autistic nephew was potty trained before her... and I thought she was kind of normal," Linda offered.

Now, don't mistake my intentions, I am not making fun of these people. I truly adore them, and wonder about their lives... how they're different from mine, how they're the same. And I know full well that I am a CHARACTER to others. I can practically see eyes roll and bet payoffs change hands every time I walk into Target. "Here she is again..."

Monday, February 4, 2008

No Self-Esteem Issues Here

Elisabeth likes to play this game where she interviews me and makes lists of my answers. She will ask me something, and then she will "write" it down. It's usually about Benjamin... "Tell me what things Benny does" or "What does Benny eat?" Sometimes, she asks how to spell the words and we practice her letters; other times, she just scribbles. Today, she asked, "What words does Benny say?" We started listing them together and I remarked, "Ben knows dozens of words. That's a lot, isn't it?" Remembering how positive reinforcement works so well on her, I continued, "But I know who knows a lot more words than Benjamin does-- Elisabeth does. She's getting so old, I bet she knows thousands of words." Libby responded, "Yeah, I'm so big, I know ALL the words."

At lunch, I tried to fill her order correctly-- bacon sandwich on toast with butter, pear, chocolate milk. But, when I brought the meal to the table, she threatened, "There's no way I'm drinking that milk-- unless you put it in a different cup." I sighed, "Do you know how stubborn you are?" She replied, "I know exactly how stubbren I am."

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hannah North Dakota


Recently, I had a discussion with another mother-- one who has a few kids, and a few years, on me, so I generally take her advice-- about Hannah Montana, "High School Musical," and the like. I said I had watched the Disney Channel show with my girls, and didn't find anything offensive... I was just puzzled as to why it was so attractive to them, since she is a much older girl facing different situations than my children currently do. (Of course, that's exactly what's attractive about her.) This other mother agreed, but warned, "It's just never a good idea for your kids to get fixated on one thing. I get concerned when they seem to spend all their time and energy on one topic. It's much safer to have a variety of interests."

At first, I concurred. But, the more I think about it... Isn't getting fixated on one thing part of normal development? Benjamin loooves Elmo-- points him out in books, cries for him in the night if the Elmo doll falls out of his crib, belly laughs at "Sesame Street." Amanda went through a good two years of Thomas the Tank Engine, and we have a vast collection of train toys, DVDs, and t-shirts to prove it. Elisabeth lives and breathes by her baby dolls, and don't forget CATS.

Around Christmas, I got an email from a friend who has girls the same ages. She said they, too, are all about Hannah Montana. My friend admitted to even trying to get concert tickets, but was unable, so she said they would have to settle for the movie. At the time, I thought, "She's a little bit crazy. I would never bend over backward and shell out that kind of money for my kids to go to a kiddie pop concert." I guessed we would settle for the movie, too. It turns out, getting tickets to that darn 3-D, limited engagement "special event" was a pretty crazy endeavor. But, it's how we spent Family Night.

The girls said they loved the movie. Todd said he thought it was a little bit over their heads, but they sure loved the idea of a Hannah Montana movie. I'm sure that, at least for a while, each evening will continue to be a Hannah Montana dance party at our house. My girls do like their Miley. They also laugh and laugh and laugh every time Grandpa calls her "Hannah North Dakota."