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April Fool’s Day

April 1, 2014 at 10:27 pm

At five years old, Ells quickly got the hang of April Fool’s Day. Today at breakfast I told her it was a new month and after she excitedly changed the picture on her calendar I told her it was also a holiday of sorts. A day when we tell lots of jokes.

She must’ve discussed this with her peers and possibly teachers at preschool because she came home full of one-liners.

“Ba, did you know today is the last day of summer… April Fool’s!”

“Ba, tomorrow I’m going up to outer space and I’m going to stay for ever… April Fool’s!”

“Ba, I ate a pickle at school today. A whole big round one… April Fool’s!”

And on and on. I was only with her for a few hours for dinner and bath and I heard more than I can remember. She got me with the pickle one!

But I got her with this one, “Ells, our gas is out so you will have to take a cold bath tonight.” She looked at me, “Really again?” Me, “April Fool’s!” Ells, “I knew it the whole time!”

Fingernail Polish

February 27, 2014 at 9:27 pm

My son has an older sister. Whom he adores. If she throws a ball, he throws a ball. If she sits at the dinner table, he wants to sit at the dinner table. If she walks down the sidewalk without sitting in the stroller, he wants to walk down the sidewalk.

If she wants to paint her fingernails, he wants to paint his fingernails.

Fingernails We haven’t painted his fingernails before. Not because he’s a boy. But because he’s one. And he hasn’t been able to hold still long enough for them to dry. But today we gave it a try. Before I left for work Mama and I painted their nails. Ells chose her color because it is the one actual “grown up” variety we have in the house. We have a kid’s bottle, coincidentally blue, but Ben wanted the exact same bottle that his older sister used. And he sat patiently still long enough to have one hand painted.

And then he helped blow on his fingers to dry them. And then he happily modeled them long enough for me to take this one blurry photo.

When I came home from work, he was sitting at the dining room table (he prefers the chair to his high chair now) and he yelled “Baba Baba!” and held up his hands so I could see.  All day and he was still excited about it.

Mama took them out today and she says a girl about three years old asked, “Is he a girl? … Then why are his fingernails painted?”

Boy and Ergo
This might be a good time to point out that he also loves playing with dolls. Because his sister does. Though I think he might enjoy it more than she did at this age. Perhaps because he has a model for how to play with them. He has his own (anatomically-correct) doll. But he also frequently plays with his sister’s (anatomically neutral / bald) dolls. He picks them up, kisses them (“mwah”), carries them around, covers them with blankets. Here he carried around his baby while wearing the grown-up Ergo and my ball cap.

 

Fingernail polish. Dolls. Not just for girls.

Five Years Old

February 19, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Our oldest is five years old today.

Ells is 5

 

We’ve been celebrating for a while, as these things tend to do. Her party was this past weekend, and it took us a few days before that to clean and decorate and prepare. A special birthday breakfast today (puff), followed by a special birthday snack at preschool (pancakes with peanut butter and applesauce), followed by a trip to the aquarium store to get her very own pet.

She’s finally five. The last few weeks: “Ba watch me skip jump on one foot. I can do this because I’m almost five.” “Ba when I’m five I’m going to start doing chores like sweeping and dusting and maybe you can teach me to mop.” “Ba these clothes are getting too small for me because I’m almost five.”

Marshmallows

January 14, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Ells and I were enjoying some hot chocolate this afternoon. And she noticed that I had more marshmallows than her.

Ells, “Why do you have more than me?”
Me, “Because I’m bigger.”
Ells, “Why does that mean a little girl can’t have as many marshmallows as a grown up?”
Me, Well it doesn’t. It’s a bad argument.”
Ells, “But my tummy is bigger than yours.”
Me, “I don’t think it is. Whose hand is bigger?”

Hands palm to palm.

Ells, “Yours.”
Me, “Whose foot is bigger?”

Feet side by side.

Ells, “Yours.”
Me, “Whose knee is bigger.”

Knees touching.

Ells, “Yours. But my tummy goes from side to side here in this space. And it’s as big as yours.”

Pause.

Ells, “But still when I’m a grown-up, I’m gonna let my kids have as many marshmallows as I have.”

 

Ells Selfie

 

 

And then while I was putting the toddler down for nap she found my phone and took this selfie.

Charades

January 10, 2014 at 3:26 am

Having a pre-verbal child is a bit like playing charades, all the time. What is he trying to tell me with these gestures, signs and grunts?

This evening I asked Ells if she wanted a treat after dinner, she mentioned that Benny hadn’t finished his teddy graham crackers from snack and asked if she could have those. Benny ran to the cup and carefully carried it to her. He then went and got himself another cup and held it out to me. I assumed he wanted more teddy grahams so I gave him some. Which he promptly dumped out onto the kitchen floor. Then he walked to the refrigerator and gestured and made sounds. I opened the fridge. He pointed to the guacamole and said “chee”. I asked if he wanted guacamole, he shook his head and said “chee” again. I told him the cheese was in the bottom drawer so he reached for it. Ah, he wants cheese. I poured some shredded cheddar into his cup and he smiled and sat down to eat it.

Chee!

 

Ten minutes later I heard him making sounds again, at the refrigerator with the little toy tea cup. This is a known charades game: he wants water from the dispenser on the door of the refrigerator. I meet it out to in small swallows because I’ve learned the hard way that if the cup is full most of the water will end up on the floor.

Boy drinks from cup

 

Hidden Toys

January 9, 2014 at 3:27 am

Ells, “I’m just looking under here to see if there are any new toys I haven’t played with.”
Me, “Do you see any?”
Ells, “Nope, just some old food… some cheese, a raisin.”

Refrigerator Ninja

Thankful

November 21, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Originally posted on EllsandBaba, November 21st 2012, Ells aged three and three quarters

I sat down with Ells and talked to her about Thanksgiving and how it’s a time for family to come together and be thankful for the good things in our lives. And a time to eat a big meal together. I asked her what kind of things she was thankful for.

 

November 2012

“I’m thankful for you going trick-or-treating with me.

I’m thankful for treats.
I’m thankful for a lot of things.
I’m thankful for all the people who work hard as soldiers.
I’m thankful for all the family who are in my life.
I’m thankful for my school which is made of friends and I am a friend to my school.
I’m thankful for my Hello Kitty toy.
Thank you for inviting us over for dinner.
I’m thankful for going over to Aunt A and Uncle A’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, and for the twins who are my favorite cousins ever.
I’m thankful for [grandma and step-grandpa] who are my best friends, I’m thankful for that, right?
Um, I’m thankful for you letting me get a white pumpkin to paint orange.
I’m glad you reminded me to say thanks for all these things there are.
Oh, and thank you, please and you’re welcome.”

It was clear she had some recent previous holidays on her mind, was sometimes looking around the house naming things she saw, and was also recalling some times when we talked about manners and used thank you phrases.

Not My Mom

November 19, 2012 at 11:33 am

Originally published at EllsandBaba on November 19, 2012, Ells aged three and three quarters

People who don’t know better often refer to me as Ells’ mom. They recognize me as her parent and assume that’s what she calls me or that “mom” defines our relationship. For example, someone might see Ells playing on the playground and ask, “Where’s your Mom?” And when she replies, “At work” they might be very confused. (I have seen this often, though I don’t know why they would be so confused, as she could be at the playground with any number of people who aren’t her mom, like babysitters, friends, or other family members.) It also might happen that someone sees Ells and sees me and asks Ells a question about me, like “Is that your Mom?” and then they’ll be confused when she says, “no.”

This confusion happens with some regularity.

Today, Ells snapped. When I went to get her at school, a classmate excitedly told her, “Your Mom is here!” and Ells ran to us and yelled, “My Mom is not here. This is my brother, not my Mom. This is my Ba, not my Mom! My Mom is not here, my Ba is here!”

People often mis-hear her name and then call her by another name. We have coached her through a polite response, “No, my name starts with an E, not an A” that I have heard her use already. We now need a polite response to the Ma/Ba confusion. And I think it needs to start with me. No more letting people continue to assume I’m her mom.

Awkward Ells-isms

November 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Originally published at EllsandBaba on November 12, 2012, Ells aged three and three quarters

Ells is very observant. With a large vocabulary. And more and more understandable to others, and sometimes she can be quite loud. And she’s really putting things together. Which has allowed for some very awkward moments.

After she threw a fit this evening at the dinner table, and after time-out, and after we’d talked briefly about what happened, I asked her what she’d do differently next time (foolishly hoping she’d say: ask to be excused or do what you tell me to), and she said, “I’d get down from the chair and quickly hide under the table.”

When we saw a woman walking down the street wearing a, I guess, fashionable coat, “Her coat sure looks like a robe, that’s funny!”

When we were waiting to catch the trolley home from downtown, “There sure are a lot of brown people here.”

As we passed a little person downtown, “That woman sure is short.” And then the next morning, “Baba, you know elves are real quiet? They come in overnight and do sewing. Was that woman yesterday an elf?”

It’s been difficult for me to explain to her when it is appropriate to say some things and when it isn’t. It was very easy for me to explain that we only pick our noses in privacy. But this has been more complicated. We don’t talk about someone who looks funny. We don’t talk about people who look different. We don’t point out obvious things like color, height, wheeled chairs, wigs, silly coats, etc. Okay, you know, we only say nice things about other people. And nice things are things that you would like someone to say to you.

I think we might keep working on this. She and I.

Ells

Bedtime Stories

July 31, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Originally published on EllsandBaba, July 31, 2012, Ells age three and a quarter

Ells, “Now it’s my turn to tell you a story, Baba. Once upon a time there was a little girl and another little girl and a little boy. And they went to the beach. But when they got there there was no sand and no water and no sharp things and no pokey things. And they said: hmmm. So they went to another beach that looked good already. And they played until they were tired. And then they went home and went to sleep.”

Me, “Good night, bean.”

Ells, “No, one more story Baba, please. Please.”

Me, “Okay. Once upon a time there was a little girl who was very tired but she didn’t know it. So she took a bath and put her pajamas on and brushed her teeth and brushed her hair. And she put her head on her pillow because her Baba asked her to. And she sucked her thumb and closed her eyes. And as she lay there she realized maybe she was a little bit tired after all. So she thought she’d just wait to see what happened. And then she fell asleep. And before she knew it it was morning and there were so many things to do. But first she had to go to sleep. The end.”

Ells, “Thanks Baba.”

June 2012