Monday, May 27, 2013

A Rambling Collection of Happiness

I fully intended to sit down and write one of the many serious posts I have on my "to write" list. But it is a long weekend, and tomorrow is my birthday, and I just had a margarita... so nothing serious is likely to come out very well.

So let's talk about some assorted good things instead.

I don't know if you've noticed this, but right after a post goes up the "You might also like" links are basically random. It takes awhile for the service to get around to indexing the new post, and until it does, the algorithm picks random posts, with a bias towards ones with photos. On my blog, this bias means there is a bias towards posts about my kids. Last week, I followed one of those random links and got sucked into reading a bunch of old posts about my kids. I really enjoyed them. It was fun to get little glimpses back into our lives at various times. So much of it disappears from my active memory within months, if not weeks.

I don't write about my kids as much as I used to. This is partially because as they get older, their stories feel less like they are mine to tell, and it is partially because my blog readership has grown and changed, and it feels a little less natural to put up a post bragging about my kid or moaning about our latest potty training problem* when I suspect that most people come here for other things.

But I'm going to write a bit about my kids, anyway, because in two years I will appreciate stumbling across this post as much as I appreciated stumbling across those old posts last week.

Petunia is getting more interested in letters and the sounds they make. She's started putting the magnetic fridge letters together in configurations that seem to her like they should mean something, and then asking her what that says. We'll usually tell her that "zumpf" is not a word, but them spell "jump" or something else somewhat similar to the "word" she spelled and show her how to sound it out. It will be interesting to see how long this phase lasts and if it proceeds directly to the next phase of pre-reading (whatever that is), or if she, like her older sister, then gets completely uninterested in letters for awhile before coming back for the next step up in skills.

She definitely enjoys being read to. During her last trip to the library, she got a book called What Happens on Wednesdays, by Emily Jenkins, with illustrations by Lauren Castillo. The story takes us through a little girl's Wednesday routine, from the little girl's point of view. When we get to the part where she walks past the day care she used to go to when she was little, Petunia always stops me and says "like me! I go to day care, because I little." And when we get to the page with a picture of a park, complete with the characteristic green sign that marks New York City parks, she tells me that it is set in the same city where Knuffle Bunny lives, and where her aunt used to live. This blew me away the first time she did it, because she's right. The author and illustrator of this book live in Brooklyn, and that is also where Knuffle Bunny lives (as we discover in Knuffle Bunny Too) and where my sister used to live. I keep meaning to ask Mr. Snarky if he told her that or if she figured it out on her own.

And she came home from day care last week with this beautiful picture of a guitar. I think someone should make a guitar like this:

A rockin' guitar
Pumpkin, meanwhile, comes home from school with entire stories written in Spanish. Her teacher started printing lines on the back of the pages they use for Spanish vocabulary practice, and telling Pumpkin she should write some sentences on them. Here is a recent effort:

Before I know it, she's going to be blogging

It is the story of our trip to Disneyland. Here is the transcript:

Me gusta Disneylandia.
Mi paseo favorito era es un mundo pequeno.
Cuando era mi cumpleanos mi hermana era triste
Mi comida favorita era helado. You vi los fuegos artificiales.
Al final del dia Yo estaba consada."

She said she had to as he teacher how to say "fireworks" but that she knew the other words.

She's getting so big and grown up that sometimes it takes my breath away. But then she does something really, really child-like and I remember that she is still pretty little, in the grand scheme of things.

So far, I'm happy with how their relationship as sisters seems to be developing. Sometimes, they play together really well, disappearing into Pumpkin's room for ages (OK, probably 30 minutes, but that seems like a lot of time with no child asking me to do anything). Sometimes, Pumpkin gets too assertive and Petunia protests. Sometimes, they fight over toys. But Pumpkin is always excited to see her little sister when we pick her up from after care, and Petunia will sometimes agree to snuggle Pumpkin instead of me when she wants snuggles on the sofa.

It will be interesting to see what they think of each other when they're older. I hope they'll still be excited to see each other at the end of the day, even when they no longer want to snuggle on the sofa.


In book news... my one piece of project work this weekend was to get Taming the Work Week added to GoodReads. If you're a GoodRead user and want to mark this book as read, to read, or whatnot... now you can!


* My completely potty trained 3.5 year old has suddenly decided she doesn't "like" to go potty anymore- to which my internal snarky voice says "hey kid, I didn't make this rule. I agree it is a bit of a design flaw, but you'll have to take it up with someone higher up the payscale..." but my responsible parenting out loud voice generally sympathizes and offers gummy bears or to get the little potty in from the garage or something... and if we're lucky, after a few minutes of this standoff, she stamps her foot, heaves an enormous exasperated sigh, and yells "Oh, FINE!" and stomps off to go potty.


  1. Anonymous4:30 AM

    Happy birthday!

    Your kids are awesome! That story is amazing. DC1 is learning Spanish more traditionally (like how it is taught in high schools), which means he can only say things in the present tense and has to learn how to conjugate before he can say anything (and he doesn't know set phrases like me gusta), and he doesn't know very many verbs.

    DC1 is in the midwest this week visiting relatives... DC2 keeps looking for him but he's not in his room.

  2. That Disneyland story is so cute!

  3. Alexicographer10:24 AM


    My aspiring lawyer, at Petunia's age -- when I would tell him (while he danced from foot to foot and crossed and uncrossed his legs) that he needed to go pee -- would seem to me to reply (dancing all the while), "I object, Your Honor! Opposing counsel [pointing at me] has NO data concerning the state of my bladder, and I *LIKE* to dance!" (that may not be exactly verbatim). He would then, and does now nonetheless respond in a useful way to, "I need you to go try to pee" (i.e. will do it rather than object. And once standing in front of a toilet, well ...). So for whatever it's worth, the "co-exasperatedness" parenting approach to whatever problem (here, peeing) has worked well for us, i.e., "I know it's madly annoying that you [the child] might possibly need to pee, but I, the parent, nonetheless need you to try because [time has elapsed / your behavior suggests / we are about to get in the car]."

  4. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Is your book going to be available as a Nook book (Barnes and Noble)? I'd like to get it in that version...

  5. I enjoy reading about your kids because mine are similarly aged and similarly temperamented (new word?!)

    Anyhow, I literally laughed out loud at the "Oh, FINE!" and foot stomping because that is EXACTLY what K (4yrs) does. And then the rest of us try not to laugh while she grumpily does whatever it was she supposedly didn't want to do.

  6. I enjoy your parenting posts! I totally get what you're saying about feeling like "as they get older, their stories feel less like they are mine to tell," and I continually admire you for respecting your daughters' privacy and boundaries. ;)

    Neat coincidence time: so this is the 2nd time our kids have had the same library books checked out at the exact same time. I remember awhile back when Pumpkin was reading "Harry and The Lady Next Door" at the same time as my son was. Now Petunia and my daughter are both reading "What Happens on Wednesdays" at the exact same time. Oh man, we LOVE that book. The dad in that book does most of the parenting that day, the mom wakes up and goes to work at her computer at home just like I do. How nice that a book represents what my family life looks like (minus the NY backdrop of course). My 3.5 y.o. also has out 3 other fun books from the library: "Stuck" by Oliver Jeffers, "The Great Lollipop Caper" by Dan Krall (a fun book that foodie parents and pun lovers will enjoy), and "Children Make Terrible Pets" by Peter Brown.

    It's a Small World was also my favorite ride at Pumpkin's age. I bet her Spanish is going to be totally fluent in a year or two - I bet that feels awesome to watch her succeed.

    Hope you had an amazing birthday!!

  7. Happy birthday, Cloud!

    And my kids are 8 and almost 6 and they still like snuggling together on the couch =)

    Congrats on your new e-book, by the way! I am no longer working fulltime, but maybe it will still give me some good hints on productivity?

  8. Happy birthday! Hope you did something fun!

  9. Happy birthday!!!

  10. Thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone! I had a nice birthday, if a little bit weird since Petunia was getting over a fever.

    I don't know when to expect a Nook version. My publisher says they can be very slow. But I anticipate that an ePub version will be available for download from the publisher's site reasonably soon, and that can be converted into formats supported by the various readers using free software.

    @The bean-mom- I think the book might be useful to you if you have writing goals you want to accomplish. It has tips and ideas for getting the most out of whatever time you set aside for work. It is pitched at fulltime people who want to get their hours under control, but I think the ideas in it would make just as much sense for someone who wants to spend 20 hours a week on work, and wants to make those hours count.


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